Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) is just as magical to investors as it is to children. Stock buybacks and sweeping gains across all of Disney’s major segment’s have the company’s share price at an all time high. A glowing content pipeline and the second best opening weekend in domestic box office history have investors’ imaginations running wild.
2014 was the year of Frozen. Disney’s hit animated film was everywhere. It dominated the isles at the toy-store, Halloween racks, and images from the film could be found licensed on every other type of product imaginable. Princess Elsa even made an appearance on the front of a bottle of mouthwash. If somehow you managed to avoid seeing Frozen everywhere you went, you still heard the hit song from the movie, “Let It Go”, on the radio and the internet.
Frozen-mania related merchandise sales helped make Consumer Products Disney’s best performing segment last quarter. Compared to one year prior Disney improved its Consumer Products segment revenue by 22% and net income by a remarkable 46%.
Frozen was undoubtably Disney’s prize jewel last year, but the company’s success cannot be attributed to one film alone. Of Disney’s 5 business segments (Consumer Products, Media Networks, Parks and Resorts, Studio Entertainment, Interactive) it saw sales improvements to all but Studio Entertainment and Interactive and registered net income gains across the board. These increases were much larger than expected and resulted in an huge earnings beat.
Contributing analysts on Estimize expected Disney to report earnings of $1.10 per share and revenue of $12.90 billion. Wall Street’s forecast was lower at $1.08 per share and $12.85 billion. Disney came out with numbers that crushed both groups’ projections. The happiest place on Earth reported $1.27 in EPS and $13.39 billion in sales beating the Estimize EPS and revenue consensuses by 15% and 4% respectively.
This quarter Estimize contributors expect the good times to keep rolling. The current consensus is for earnings of $1.17 per share and revenue of $12.48 billion. Wall Street’s forecast is again significantly lower at $1.11 per share in profits and $12.24 billion in sales.
The expected 5% gain to year over year earnings and 7% improvement in total sales are more attainable numbers than the 22% EPS and 9% revenue increases reported last quarter. The impact from Frozen should start to cool off now that the film’s been out for over a year so it’s understandable that growth rates may slow temporarily.
Even as Frozen becomes smaller in the rear view mirror, Disney continues to crank out hit after hit with its Marvel franchise. Disney’s latest release which will be included in next quarter’s earnings, Avengers: Age of Ultron, launched this weekend pulling in $187.7 in North America. That makes the film’s opening weekend the second biggest domestic box office release of all time. Only its predecessor, The Avengers, (2012) performed better.
With Disney continuously producing incredibly lucrative films and with the latest installment of Star Wars on the horizon, it’s easy to be excited about this company’s future. Disney’s stellar performance in recent periods has been noted by investors and the bar for the company’s second fiscal quarter is set high accordingly.