Disney's stand-alone streaming service won't compete with Netflix in scale

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Disney's stand-alone streaming service won't compete with Netflix in scale

Disney says its cable networks - including its closely watched ESPN - witnessed another modest decline in subscribers, to 3%.

Net income jumped 78% to $4.4 billion, or $2.91 per share, from $2.5 billion, or $1.55 a share a year ago.

In December, Disney announced a $66.1 billion deal, including debt, to acquire many parts of Fox. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated earnings of $1.61 per share.

Amid declining TV advertising revenues at its top TV networks, Walt Disney posted stronger-than-expected overall results in its fiscal first-quarter earnings period.

Five years ago, when ESPN reached 98.8 million subs and charged operators $5.13 per head each month, the network generated around $6.1 billion in affiliate revenue. This app will provide scores, highlights, podcasts, and other sports information, and enable access to live streams of all ESPN's networks, along with the subscription streaming service.

ESPN is hoping to stem its losses from dropping membership in recent months by directly competing against the old model of pay television channel bundles.

The Last Jedi, which has recently passed $1.32 billion worldwide, helped keep the Studio Entertainment results in line with past year, which had the added benefit of both Moana and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

The power of Disney parks - where attendance was up - helped the company beat Wall Street profit estimates.

"The strategic investments we've made have driven meaningful growth over the long term, and we remain confident in our ability to continue to deliver significant shareholder value", said CEO Bob Iger. Disney announced separately that it's hired the creators of TV series "Game of Thrones" to make a new series of Star Wars films.

Looking at Disney's Consumer Products and Interactive Media segment, revenue decreased by 2% to US$1.5 billion, while operating income fell by 4% to US$617 million.

Iger also emphasized that Disney's output deal with Netflix for Black Panther, Incredibles 2 and other films released through the end of 2018 doesn't last forever.

Iger's overriding theme was that the future is all about Disney's direct-to-consumer products, and creating content on the film and TV side to feed those channels. Disney last month gave about 125,000 USA employees a one-time $1,000 bonus and announced plans to put $50 million toward helping hourly employees with tuition expenses.

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