Powered primarily by the success of Disney+ and the company’s other streaming services, The Walt Disney Co. Thursday reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenues and losses, despite the continued closure or limited capacity at its famed theme parks worldwide.
“Even with the disruption caused by COVID-19, we’ve been able to effectively manage our businesses while also taking bold, deliberate steps to position our company for greater long-term growth,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement. “The real bright spot has been our direct-to-consumer businesses, which is key to the future of our company.”
Chapek noted that Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of Disney+, and announced that the streaming service now has more than 73 million paid subscribers, “far surpassing our expectations in just its first year.”
Disney reported fourth-quarter revenues of $14.7 billion, besting analyst anticipations. Diluted earnings per share showed a 20-cent loss compared to the same quarter a year ago — also better than analysts expected.
The company has been dogged by its inability to fully reopen its theme parks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. State health restrictions will keep the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim shuttered through at least the end of the year. The company’s cruise line has also been left in dry-dock due to the pandemic, which also put its film and television productions on hold.
Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products segment reported nearly $2.6 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter, a 61% drop from the same quarter last year. The Direct-To-Consumer segment, however, reported $4.8 billion in revenue in the quarter, a 41% year-over-year increase.
The company announced Thursday it would forgo it semi-annual cash dividend for the second half of the 2020 fiscal year, “in light of the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the company’s decision to prioritize investment in its direct-to-consumer initiatives.”