It’s that time of the year again when companies release their numbers for the 2nd quarter of the calendar year. Hasbro released their numbers a few days ago last week. Disney released their numbers just now. And the 2nd quarter of 2023 wasn’t exactly a great one for either of these two companies. Click through for the details!
Let’s cover the Hasbro news very briefly, because in the latest earnings report Star Wars wasn’t mentioned even once. Make of that whatever you will.
The basic numbers:
On to the things that interest us more: partner brands, i.e. Hasbro’s licensed brands, including Star Wars!
Partner brands revenue continues to decline. Revenue is down by 21% compared to Q2/2022 and year to date revenue declined by 28%. All of Hasbro’s partner brands brought in $172.9 million in Q2/2023.
According to Hasbro about 60% of that decline can be attributed to exited licenses. Hasbro’s plan is to have fewer brands altogether and to focus on the moneymakers. However, that also means 40% of the decline can be attributed to the licenses they still have. Hasbro did point out Spider-Man merchandise which actually brought in more money, how much Star Wars toy sales have declined is anyone’s guess though. We can’t say.
However, if your prices are higher now than they were a year before across virtually all of your licensed toy lines and revenue still declines it can only mean one thing: unit sales must have declined pretty drastically. If a 20-30% price hike results in revenue decline you can easily see how collectors and more casual consumers bought fewer toys than before. Not surprising, giving the economical situation right now.
Hasbro also announced that they will sell their eONE entertainment branch later this year. Chris Cocks explained a few months ago how his vision for Hasbro differs from that of late CEO Brian Goldner, who wanted to turn Hasbro into something of a multimedia company. Cocks wants to focus on toys and thus his plan was to sell the eONE business again, something that will now happen.
What else: as of now it’s basically the Wizards of the Coast business (Magic The Gathering, Dungeon & Dragons) that keeps Hasbro afloat. While that brand also reported a revenue decline it still contributes rougly 25% to Hasbro’s total revenue and is still on its way to become a billion dollar brand for Hasbro in 2023.
Oh, and Hasbro reported a $25 million “asset impairment charge” for their Dungeons & Dragons movie, they could have also just said the movie flopped financially and didn’t earn its money back.
And that’s pretty much it.
Disney reported a very rare quarterly loss in their earnings report of $134 million. But this loss is attributed to one time charges and impairments of $2.65 billion. Revenue overall increased by 4%. Parks and Entertainment continues to be the moneymaker for Disney. Overall revenue increased here, the international parks contributed most of that growth, but Disney also reports that attendance is down for Walt Disney World in Orlando and lower profit is attributed to, among other things, the upcoming closure of the Star Wars hotel “Galactic Starcruiser”, the technical term they use is “accelerated depreciation”, which has a negative effect on profits, that’s one way to word it for sure.
Disney+ saw a rapid decline of subscribers, the service now has 7.3% fewer subscribers compared with the previous quarter. The worldwide total is now 146.1 million vs an previously expected number of 151.1 million.
However, almost all of that can be attributed to a massive loss of subscribers in India via Hotstar (-24%), ever since Disney lost the rights to the cricket league they have been bleeding subscribers in India. And subscribers in India pay very, very little for the service to begin with (only a little more than half a dollar per month on average). So the actual financial loss is negligible here.
In North America subscriber numbers are stagnating and ever so slowly declining even, Disney reported yet another loss of 300,000 subscribers in North America, following the previous report where they had reported a loss of yet another 300,000 subscribers, so in the past six months Disney+ lost more than half a million subscribers in North America. Not good of course, when some other streaming platforms report growth, with Netflix even reporting their best quarter ever and substantial subscriber growth ever since they took measures against account sharing. Disney+ grew in international markets (excluding India) though.
It should be pointed out that Disney reports the subscriber loss despite flagship shows like The Mandalorian getting released in the last quarter. But viewership for season 3 was down by quite a bit and it’s apparent the series failed to generate any subscriber growth.
The streaming losses have been somewhat contained, one year ago it was a loss of a little more than $1 billion, in Q2/2023 (Disney’s financial Q3) it was about $500 million. So they have cut the losses in half, even though half a billion dollars is still a lot of money. Last quarter it was a loss of about $600 million. Streaming continues to be a money sinkhole for Disney.
But average revenue earned per subscriber in North America keeps increasing, it is now $7.31 in North America and $6.01 outside of North America, a few cents more than in the previous quarter, excluding India, where subscribers pay on average 59 cents per month.
What else… the film division reported a loss, to the surprise of no one who follows the box office. They attribute it to Indiana Jones and co, no surprises here.
Linear tv continues to lose revenue, Iger said that ABC and co are not “the core” of Disney for a reason and reports say he is willing to sell the linear tv business altogether, only keeping ESPN, but they would like to get a partner on board for it.
So all in all it was a not so brilliant quarter and they failed to meet expectations by analysts. Disney+ not only has stopped growing in North America, it is slowly shedding subscribers, yet another loss of 300k subscribers may not sound much, but when you see that competitors manage to grow their numbers it’s time to be somewhat concerned.
And the ongoing writer’s and actor’s strike in Hollywood will not make things easier, because it’s inevitable by now that in 2024 there will be a lack of new releases.
The basic takeaway is… Hasbro keeps selling fewer and fewer Star Wars toys at higher prices and revenue keeps declining. They need to find a way to end this death spiral, it is evident consumers are not willing to pay the prices Hasbro is asking for, even if, according to Chris Cocks, the collector market is still healthy.
And Disney has to think long and hard about their entertainment strategy. Disney+ keeps shedding subscribers, recently released tentpole shows for Star Wars and Marvel bring in less viewers than before, movies released exclusively on Disney+ bomb, like the Peter Pan movie, their theatrical movies report losses almost across the board, in part because of insane production budgets. It remains to be seen how and if upcoming tentpole releases like Ahsoka and Loki season 2 can turn the ship around.
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