Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Experiences, speaks during a media preview of the D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, Aug. 22, 2019.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg via Getty Images
Disney is set to report its Q2 2020 earnings after the bell on Tuesday. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted Disney’s theme parks and cruise businesses but is expected to boost engagement on its newly-launched streaming service, Disney+.
Wall Street is anticipating earnings per share of 89 cents on revenue of $17.80 billion, based on Refinitiv consensus estimates. However, it’s difficult to compare reported earnings to analyst estimates for Disney’s second quarter, as the pandemic continues to hit global economies and makes earnings impact difficult to assess.
This is the first earnings report with Bob Chapek at the helm of Disney, after former CEO Bob Iger announced in February he would transition to the role of executive chairman. Iger had been expected to retire at the end of 2021, but told investors he decided to step down to focus on creative projects now that major undertakings like the Fox merger and launch of Disney+ were behind him.
Shortly after Iger stepped down, stay at home orders accelerated across the U.S. and he was called back into the day-to-day operations at the company, New York Times columnist Ben Smith reported last month.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused many headaches for Disney. The company has faced movie theater closures, film and TV production shutdowns, docked cruise ships, closed theme parks and the suspension of most live sporting events on its ESPN and ABC networks.
Disney has furloughed thousands of union and non-union workers across its theme parks and resorts. Disney’s U.S. and Paris parks have been closed since March and its Asia parks closed since February, though it began phased reopening of some locations there in March. The segment accounted for 37% of Disney’s $69.6 billion total revenue last year.
Currently, analysts are split on when theme parks will reopen. Some foresee June 1 as the right date to reopen, while others don’t foresee park doors opening until 2021. Rival Universal Studios is using May 31 as a placeholder date for a possible opening.
Regardless of when Disney parks reopen, analysts are predicting a three-year period before they are back to 2019’s profitability, as the need for social distancing, travel restrictions and new health precautions will remain until there is a widely available vaccine.
To reduce costs, Disney has taken a $5 billion line of credit and slashed executive pay, including a 50% pay cut for Chapek. Iger is forgoing his salary, according to an internal memo previously obtained by CNBC. In June, Disney’s board will decide if it will pay its usual summer dividend.
There may be better news for Disney’s streaming business as people spend more time inside looking for TV shows and movies to watch. Netflix saw a big uptick in subscribers in its first quarter of 2020 during the pandemic.
Last quarter, Disney reported 26.5 million subscribers for Disney+ by late December, with about 20% joining through a free trial with Verizon. At the time of Disney’s earnings call in early February, Iger said that number had already jumped to 28.6 million subscribers. In April, Disney announced that Disney+ has 50 million subscribers. Disney also owns two other major streaming services, Hulu and ESPN+.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.
Disclosure: Universal Studios theme parks are owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.
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