Global entertainment conglomerate, Disney, has announced that they have hit a record high revenue of $59.4bn in 2018 – up 8% on the previous year.
The figures were driven by a 10% growth in Disney’s theme parks and resorts, and 19% growth in ‘Studio Entertainment’, hitting $20.3bn and $10bn respectively.
Disney’s largest division, Media Networks, saw revenue rise just 4%, to $24.5bn.
However, the company did announce that their Consumer Product division revenue fell 4% to $4.7bn.
The company’s net income jumped 40% to $12.6bn, thanks to lower taxes and higher operating profit, with Disney’s share buyback boosting earnings per share growth to 47%.
Shares in Disney rose 1.7% in early trading this morning following the announcement.
Nicholas Hyett, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown commented: “Disney’s had a blockbuster year, and that’s putting it mildly. After a bitter corporate struggle it finally landed Richard Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, subsequently agreeing to sell Fox’s stake in Sky to rival Comcast and spin off Fox’s Regional Sports Network to satisfy US regulators. In an ideal world it might have wanted to hang on to both businesses, but the sales will give the balance sheet a cash infusion which sets it up for the next stage in an aggressive corporate expansion.
“A Direct-to-Consumer offer is a whole new world for Disney, and the competition is no less formidable than Comcast. Netflix is spending around $10bn a year on marketing and content, and Disney looks like they’re gearing up to go toe-to-toe with the tech darling.
“Disney has several major advantages over its younger rival – a back-catalogue to die for, $9.8bn a year of free-cash and some of the best copyright IP on the planet – and is launching a whole range of exclusive content specifically for Direct to Consumer. It would be foolish to dismiss the challenges ahead – despite some early forays with Hulu and ESPN+, Disney lacks Netflix digital expertise – but 85 years after Disney first asked viewers “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?” it’s the one with all the puff.”