Disney’s investors are hoping the ticket sales of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will offset the losses suffered last year by other parts of the company’s holdings.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens reached the $898.3 million mark domestically yesterday in it’s 48th day of release, and is poised to cross the 2 billion in the international markets by this weekend, becoming the third film to ever do so. This is good news for Disney investors, who are desperate to see a good earnings report next Tuesday when the company is scheduled to release their first quarter numbers. One might think that will all of the huge properties the company has, and the millions of tendrils into the entertainment world it has going that this has been a banner year. But you would be wrong. Disney shares have actually been slumping since August. Why? One word: Television.
The dwindling network television market has been a long term story for the last decade, and this past year saw the erosion begin to speed up, as more households than ever became “cord cutters,” and the broadcast business begins to face a music industry sized problem based on technology shifts. As the LA Times reports today, “Amid a wider market downturn, Disney’s stock has declined 19% in the last three months, the steepest drop among rivals Time Warner Inc., 21st Century Fox Inc., Comcast Corp. and Viacom Inc.”
Most of this stems from the losses at ESPN, which as we all remember, Disney did a huge shore up/tie in with Monday Night Football and Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ final trailer. But those channels have been shedding subscribers as at alarming rate (3 million subscribers gone in 2015 alone.) Can the Star Wars phenomenon in Disney’s movie portfolio really be able to offset those losses in the small screen department? The expectation is that even if the movie division isn’t quite enough, the consumer products division will certainly post a very strong showing: “Star Wars” toys were top sellers this last holiday season, generating more than $700 million in sales, according to a report from retail research company NPD Group.”