LTN Looks At US Entertainment Giant’s Quarterly Earnings

LTN Looks At US Entertainment Giant’s Quarterly Earnings

LTN Looks At US Entertainment Giant’s Quarterly Earnings


Strong advertising trends and signs of improved pay TV subscriber momentum will be Key trends when big Hollywood report their latest Quarterly earnings over the next 1 weeks, according to Wall Street analysts.

And that could mean that film units, which will highlight box-office successes or DOA’s depending, could provide most of the interest this earnings season.

TV advertising is strong due to factors including the weak upfront market last year, fewer bad ratings this year and a generally good US ad market.

Some analysts expect questions about regulators’ conditions on Charter Communications’ planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks..

Below is a close look at Hollywood’s Key Quarterly earnings reports, as follows:

NBCUniversal/Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCAS) kicked off earnings season for big Hollywood Wednesday morning. And despite its various TV businesses, film topics will play a Key role.

On the call, expect questions about the company’s talks about a possible takeover of DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA). There was no comments about the merger.

Comcast Corp reported Q-1 earnings that beat Wall Street’s expectations with help from an increase in subscriber numbers.

At Comcast’s NBCUniversal entertainment division, the film unit had a difficult Quarter after the year-ago strength of Fifty Shades of Grey. The company’s biggest new US box-office performer in the latest period was Ride Along 2, which had a strong start and faded, with My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 opening late in the Quarter.

Symbol Last Trade Date Change Open High Low Volume
NASDAQ:CMCSA 61.3 Apr-27-2016 0.25 62.2 62.79 60.48 17,071,400
HeffX-LTN Analysis for CMCSA: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Bullish (0.37) Neutral (0.21) Very Bullish (0.54) Bullish (0.36)


Sony  (NYSE:SNE): Sony Corp. will report results  Thursday in Japan on local time.

With most of the analysts following the conglomerate and providing forecasts not being based in the US, not much detail on expectations is available.

Note: After posting a series of earnings misses in fiscal 2014, this leading electronics manufacturer reported strong earnings in the last quarter on the back of lower operating costs and a surge in PlayStation4 (“PS4”) software sales.

But for Sony’s film unit, Risen and Miracles From Heaven were Key releases in the latest Quarter, which is the final Quarter of the company’s fiscal year.

Sony Corp.’s (NYSE:SNE) film unit recorded a full fiscal-year operating profit of $341-M(¥58.5-B), down 34%, the company said Thursday

Earlier in the FY, Sony lowered its full  forecast for operating income at its film division to JPY 35-B ($290-M), which would mark a drop of around 40% from the prior year.

Weak economic conditions Japan and China may weigh on the company’s financials.

Also, the recent earthquake in the Kumamoto region has led to suspension of operations which in turn is likely to impact Sony’s operating results, particularly in the Devices and Imaging Products & Solutions segments.

Symbol Last Trade Date Change Open High Low Volume
NYSE:SNE 25.61 27 Apr-2016 -0.16 25.72 25.8 25.39 1,110,500
HeffX-LTN Analysis for SNE: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Neutral (0.12) Neutral (-0.12) Neutral (0.16) Bullish (0.31)



Viacom will post its latest results early Thursday, and analysts will focus on CEO Philippe Dauman about the state of affairs there, the company expected to sell a minority stake in Paramount Pictures studio unit.

For the latest Quarter, Viacom’s film unit is expected to post a loss after last year recording adjusted operating income of $1-M, excluding the impact of a $784-M charge related to a strategic realignment and related job cuts.

10 Cloverfield Lane was the company’s strongest new film release in the Quarter, but it also had 2 DOA’s in Zoolander 2 and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

And there is the continuing Sumner Redstone saga.

Symbol Last Trade Date Change Open High Low Volume
NASDAQ: VIA 46.56 27 Apr-2016 0.41 46.18 46.94 45.49 43,700
HeffX-LTN Analysis for VIA:  Overall Short Intermediate Long
Neutral (0.21) Neutral (0.21) Bullish (0.36) Neutral (0.07)



CBS Corp. will report latest financials on 3 May, it will provide insight into TV than movie trends.

“CBS should continue to benefit from a strong ad market and its hosting of the Super Bowl (with $5 million per-spot ads) should produce a pop in revenue and earnings in the first quarter,” wrote an analysts in raising his EPS estimate by 4 cents to 0.94. “There could be even more upside on Super Bowl ad sales and general ad market strength, bolstered as well by early political season spending at local broadcast.”

Analysts will keep an eye on any latest comments from CEO Leslie Moonves on the planned sale or spinoff of the company’s radio station business, which CBS first announced in March, and upfront ad season commentary.

And there is the continuing Sumner Redstone saga.

Symbol Last Trade Date Change Open High Low Volume
NYSE:CBS 56.39 27 Apr-2016 -0.05 56.5 56.75 55.57 2,905,400
HeffX-LTN Analysis for CBS: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Bullish (0.32) Neutral (-0.02) Bullish (0.49) Very Bullish (0.50)


Time Warner (NYSE:TEX)

Time Warner will report its Quarterly results before the open on 4 May.

“The TV ad market looks a bit healthier than we had forecasted heading into the quarter, and Batman v. Superman was more front-end loaded into the March quarter than we had assumed,” said one analyst in a note, and so he recently raised his quarterly adjusted earnings estimate.

Wall Street on average expects earnings of 1.29/share, compared with adjusted earnings of 1.19 in the year-ago frame.

Amid ratings challenges at TBS and TNT, but positive momentum at CNN, the ratings outlook and what it means for advertising sales will be a topic on the earnings call.

“Given what was largely a challenging year for TBS and TNT on the ratings front, we are interested in the company’s upfront strategy,” said a Stifel Nicolaus analyst.”

Film performance will play a central role, with box office from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which opened in mid-March, being a Key factor in the latest results.

Management is also expected to touch on the DC Entertainment film slate. “Batman v. Superman starts the DC Comics superhero movie cycle.

Despite poor critical reviews, Batman v. Superman opened strongly world wide. The movie has grossed about $835-M globally since its release.

Over the next 5 years, Warner Bros. is planning to release nine more DC Comics movies, with Suicide Squad being the next on 5 August. In addition, Warner Bros. is currently producing 8 DC Comics related TV shows. Both of these should also continue to drive consumer products and video game sales growth.

Analysts do not expect a specific HBO Now subscriber count update on the call.

Symbol Last Trade Date Change Open High Low Volume
NYSE:TWX 76.91 27 Apr-2016 -0.11 76.66 77.2 76.02 4,067,800
HeffX-LTN Analysis for TWX: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Bullish (0.37) Very Bullish (0.50) Bullish (0.31) Bullish (0.31)



21st Century Fox will report after the market close on 4 May

The conglomerate’s US box-office revenue rose 119% Y-Y to $755-M, boosted by an unlikely superstar Deadpool, the film provided a surprising lift to the film segment in the March Quarter, in addition to contributions from such films as The Revenant. But, the release calendar for home video and TV shows sold into syndication was weaker, so that the film segment comps slightly down in the Quarter.

In Fox’s broadcast TV segment, an analyst estimated that live-plus-same-day ratings fell about 13% in the latest Quarter, “facing tougher comps Vs last year’s entire season 1 release of Empire during the frame.

But Fox should continue to benefit from especially strong performance from Fox News due the political season and analyst explained, even though he acknowledged that the company’s overall cable ratings just Ok.

FX is performing about in line with cable TV peers, down 7% season-to-date, but Fox Sports 1 is weak, prompting the network to seek a refresh of content.

Symbol Last Trade Date Change Open High Low Volume
NASDAQ:FOX 30.78 27 Apr-2016 -0.09 30.86 30.96 30.43 2,729,600
HeffX-LTN Analysis for FOX: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Bullish (0.46) Bullish (0.40) Very Bullish (0.58) Bullish (0.39)


The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)

Disney will wrap up big Hollywood’s quarterly earnings season on 10 May.

Some analysts have recently pared their company forecasts for the Quarter on some increased cost expectations.

The box office was mostly good news in Q-1.

Disney had a good box-office Quarter, up 100% with Star Wars grossing over $2-B from its 18 December release and running into mid-February, and Zootopia proving a surprise hit with nearly $900-M in the global box office through 25 April.

On the TV side

Analysts said solid ad trends will be weighed against subscriber commentary.

“Disney, we believe, is benefiting from healthier TV ad trends apparent for the group. However, the shift of the college football championship to the December from the March quarter will weigh on March Quarter ad trends.”

The big question for Disney earnings … is again the status of ESPN. The Disney relief rally could continue. If there is any indication of weakness or further uncertainty at ESPN, or the cable networks in general, then Disney shares could struggle.

Expect “healthy” US theme parks unit trends but International is slow, should accelerate markedly mid-June with the opening of Shanghai Disneyland.

LTN’s Quarterly EPS estimate is 1.39, up from 1.23 in the year-ago frame and in line with Wall Street’s estimate.

Analysts do not expect the call to yield more insight into the recent decision by COO Tom Staggs to leave the company and possible successors for CEO Bob Iger.

Symbol Last Trade Date Change Open High Low Volume
NYSE:DIS 105.28 Apr-27-2016 0.39 105.19 105.6 104.76 5,996,000
HeffX-LTN Analysis for DIS:  Overall Short Intermediate Long
Neutral (0.11) Neutral (0.19) Neutral (0.12) Neutral (0.03)

Stay tuned…

Paul Ebeling

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