1st LD Writethru: Disney Q4 revenue up 26 pct from last year due to rebound of theme park business

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LOS ANGELES, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Walt Disney Company on Wednesday reported a revenue of 18.53 billion U.S. dollars for its fiscal fourth quarter of 2021, up 26 percent from a year earlier, largely due to the rebound of its theme park business from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Disney's quarterly earnings report, the earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter ending on Oct. 2 reached 9 cents compared to a loss of 39 cents in the same period last year.

Disney Parks, Experiences and Products revenues for the fourth quarter increased to 5.5 billion dollars from 2.7 billion in the prior-year quarter. The division's quarterly profit increased to 640 million dollars.

"Revenue and operating income growth was due to the reopening of our parks and resorts, which were open for the entire quarter (the fourth quarter) this year," said the company in the report.

"COVID-19 and measures to prevent its spread have impacted our segments in a number of ways. Our theme parks and resorts were closed and cruise ship sailings and guided tours were suspended," said Disney, adding that its parks and resorts, "were generally operating at reduced capacities" even while they were open.

Meanwhile, the company's two-year-old flagship streaming service, Disney+, recorded an increase of 2.1 million subscribers in the latest quarter, bringing the number of subscribers to 118.1 million, up 60 percent from 73.7 million in 2020.

Disney said its Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) revenues for the quarter increased 38 percent to 4.6 billion dollars and operating loss increased from 400 million dollars to 630 million dollars.

"This has been a very productive year for The Walt Disney Company, as we've made great strides in reopening our businesses while taking meaningful and innovative steps in Direct-to-Consumer and at our Parks," said Bob Chapek, Disney's chief executive officer, in a press release.

Chapek said the company is "extremely pleased with the success of our streaming business" and confident in the growth of Disney streaming platforms globally.

Disney's DTC services include Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, which are viewed as new products to compete with Netflix. The company aims to gain 230 million to 260 million Disney+ subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024.

Disney+ has grown into the entertainment industry's most formidable competitor to Netflix, but the popular app's growth slowed dramatically in the most recent quarter due to a dearth of new content as well as increased competition in the crowded streaming space, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Compared to fiscal 2020, the Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution segment reflected higher advertising revenue from the return of live sporting events.

The company's other film and television distribution businesses registered revenue loss due to the deferral or cancellation of significant film releases, according to the report.

Deadline Hollywood, an online news site focused on business news in the entertainment industry, pointed out that Disney missed Wall Street forecasts in its fiscal fourth quarter amid a slowdown in streaming, despite a swing back to profit from the 2020 quarter, which had been greatly impacted by the pandemic.

Disney's stock slipped almost 5 percent in after-hours trading in the wake of its quarterly report. Enditem

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