Just weeks before Thanksgiving, Mickey Mouse and company have much to be grateful for, as The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) reports its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2018 results for the period ended September 29, 2018. Among the quarterly highlights are record revenues of $14.3 billion, a 12 percent increase, net income of $2.3 billion, a 33 percent increase, and diluted earnings per share of $1.55, a 37 percent increase.
Dana Neuts is Subscription Insider's Senior Staff Writer, covering our daily subscription news as well as member features, case studies, and reports.
Dana is also a writer, editor, marketing professional, speaker and the publisher of iLoveKent.net. Her work has appeared in AARP Bulletin, The Seattle Times, Seattle Business, 425 Business, 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, Northwest Travel and more. She is the immediate past president of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her specialties include business writing, community news, senior issues, travel and, of course, subscriptions!
One month after SiriusXM announced that it would acquire Pandora for $3.5 billion in an all-stock transaction, Pandora (NYSE: P) reported its third quarter financials. Highlights for the quarter included total revenue of $417.6 million, a 16 percent increase year-over-year, excluding revenue from Ticketfly and the company’s previous operations in Australia and New Zealand. Pandora also reported subscription revenue of $125.8 million, a 49 percent increase, and advertising revenue of $291.9 million. Pandora added 784,000 subscribers during the quarter, bringing it to 6.8 million total Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium subscribers. By comparison, at the end of its third quarter, SiriusXM had 33.7 million subscribers.
In this week’s subscription news, Digital First Media lays off 107 at its service center, FabFitFun surpasses $200 million in revenue and hits the 1-million-subscriber milestone, and Ubers tries to compete with Lyft with its own subscription service. Also this week, CNBC reports that ESPN+ will cost Disney big bucks this year as part of a long-term strategy, AMC Theatres beats Wall Street estimates, and IBM agrees to buy Red Hat.
Before we head into the three-day weekend, we want to take a moment to honor our nation’s veterans and thank them for serving our country. It is because of them that we remain free. Please thank a veteran this week. Now onto Five on Friday. This week Digital tells us that subscription tools offered by Facebook and Google are improvements for publishers, but they have a long way to go. Also, subscription gaming is heating up, thanks to Google and Microsoft, Forbes shares ways to minimize churn, Fast Company gets a new look, and Dice says that the subscription app model isn’t beneficial to developers.
Apple started the month off right with a strong earnings report on November 1 for its fiscal fourth quarter ended September 28, 2018. Among the highlights are quarterly revenue of $62.9 billion, a 20 percent increase year-over-year, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2.91, representing a 41 percent increase over earnings for the same period last year. International sales made up 61 percent of revenue for the quarter. Of particular note was the company’s Services revenue which hit an all-time high of $10 billion, an increase of $2.1 billion, or 27 percent, over the same period last year.
While other auto manufacturers like Toyota, Jeep and Lexus are jumping on the car subscription bandwagon, Cadillac is about to hop off. According to CNET and The Wall Street Journal, Cadillac will terminate its car subscription service by year end. The Book by Cadillac service is currently available in three markets: Los Angeles, Dallas and New York. The Wall Street Journal reports there were issues with the technology that supported the subscription service, creating extra customer service work and costs. Current subscribers will be notified and have 30 days to return their vehicles.
Despite the abrupt departure of CBS chairman, president and CEO Leslie Moonves, CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) reported record revenues and earnings in the third quarter of 2018. CBS had record revenue of $3.26 billion, a 3 percent increase over the same period last year. The company credits its record revenue, in part, to 79 percent growth in its digital initiatives, including its streaming video subscription services CBS All Access and Showtime, and retransmission revenue and fees from CBS Television Network affiliates.
Tribune Publishing Co. (NYSE: TRCO), a Chicago-based media company, is entertaining bids from Donerail Group, McClatchy Co. and AIM Media, reports Bloomberg. Tribune, which recently reverted to its previous moniker from the Tronc brand, owns media businesses in eight markets. Among its titles are its namesake The Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News acquired in September 2017, The Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, The Virginian-Pilot, and the Hartford Courant, among others. The company also owns Tribune Content Agency, the Daily Meal and is majority owner of BestReviews.
Last Thursday, The New York Times (NYSE: NYT) reported that its subscriber-first strategy was successful during the third quarter of 2018. At the end of the third quarter, The New York Times had more than 3 million digital subscribers and 4 million total subscribers. This strategy helped the company bring in 203,000 total net new digital-only subscribers in the third quarter, and subscription revenue represented close to two-thirds of the company’s total revenue. Of the 203,000 new subscribers, 143,000 came from news and the balance came from NYT Cooking and Crossword.
Everything’s coming up Apples, or so it would seem looking at this week’s subscription headlines. In addition to Apple’s success with the news app and its plans to launch its own streaming TV service in 2019, MoviePass's owner is spinning off the company to be its own public company, MoviePass Entertainment Holdings. Also this week, Fox Nation is premiering this month, digital news startup Scroll is already expanding and it hasn’t even launched yet, and publishers are abandoning Snapchat’s sinking ship.