Disney profits rise 50%, supported by theme parks

A year ago, due to the coronavirus pandemic, most Disney theme parks were operating at reduced capacity and Disney Cruise Line was not operating at all. Since April, Disney’s national parks and cruise ships have generally been operating without coronavirus-related capacity restrictions, the company said. Disney Parks also began charging for line-shortening privileges, which opened up a colossal new revenue stream. New rides also debuted.

Disney’s traditional financial engine – cable TV – is coming under increasing strain as consumers cancel cable connections at an accelerating rate. In the United States, about 7.5% of cable customers cut cable in the last quarter, up from 4% a year earlier, according to estimates from research firm LightShed Partners. Cable channels have been largely emptied of the best programming beyond live sports. This content is now routed to streaming services.

However, a change in the schedule for this year’s National Basketball Association Finals, football programming and the Oscars provided Disney’s traditional television business with an upbeat quarter. Revenue for the division, which includes ABC, ESPN, FX, Disney Channel and National Geographic, totaled $7 billion, up 3% from a year earlier, and profit of $2.5 billion , an increase of 13%.

Streaming, on the other hand, continues to lose money as Disney spends aggressively on content, marketing and technology infrastructure. Losses at Disney’s streaming division topped $1 billion, down from a loss of $300 million a year earlier. Streaming revenue soared 19% to $5.1 billion.

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