With the acquisition of several Fox properties under its belt, Disney is focused on building out its content library. It will launch its long-anticipated streaming service, Disney+, in late 2019, Disney CEO Bob Iger said Thursday during an earnings call with investors.
Disney+ will be powered by BAMTech, a data platform in which Disney acquired a majority stake in August 2017. The direct-to-consumer offering will include content from Searchlight, FX, National Geographic, Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and ABC.
“We're going to walk before we run as it relates to volume of content because it takes time to build the kind of content library that, ultimately, we intend to build,” Iger told investors.
Besides that, Walt Disney Co. had a magical third quarter.
Total revenues grew 7%. Earnings per share soared 18% to $1.87, exceeding analysts’ expectations of $1.34 per share. Advertising revenue at ABC Network also increased 3%. Disney reported $59.43 billion in total revenue for 2018.
Ad revenue at ESPN dropped 3% due to higher rates.
Not all news, however, was enchanted. Iger noted “higher losses” at Hulu in Q3, which he attributed to “higher programming and labor costs.” Advertising revenue on the platform helped offset the decline, said Disney SEVP and CFO Christine McCarthy.
In March, Disney announced a companywide reorganization. In recent months, it has reshuffled its ad sales division after unifying it under the company’s president of sales, Rita Ferro, roughly a year ago.
In September, Ferro became president of Disney advertising sales. She now manages ad sales on ESPN, Disney, ABC and its affiliate stations and Disney’s entire footprint for mobile, digital and social.