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ESPN Plus streaming service announced for Apple devices

08 February 2018

Disney will launch ESPN Plus, a new streaming subscription service that is set to make its debut this coming spring for $4.99 per month.

The Disney-Fox deal comes as tech giants like Netflix and Amazon engage traditional medias in an increasingly competitive spending race on content. CNBC reported Monday that fear of being outspent was one of the main reasons Rupert Murdoch chose to sell those Fox assets.

Revenues for the quarter increased 4 percent to $15.35 billion from $14.78 billion a year ago.

In December, Disney agreed to buy assets of Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox for about $52.4 billion.

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Disney may have managed to beat overall estimates for its first-quarter earnings, unveiled on Tuesday, thanks in part to a 14 percent rise in operating income at its theme parks. Rather than shell out billions on new material, Disney, home to box office powerhouses such as Marvel, Pixar and the "Star Wars" franchise, plans to use the valuable products it already has to take on peers, even if that means offering consumers less choice than rival platforms.

With the company ending its output deal with Netflix after the 2018 slate (though Fox will keep its HBO output beyond that), an increased focus will be on the nature of the app's originals.

That adjusted earnings per share figure accounts for the recent tax overhaul and other one-time benefits totaling about $1.6 billion. Beyond existing IP, Disney announced on Tuesday that Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will write and produce a new series of Star Wars films.

"The third feature is a plus service, we're calling it ESPN Plus", he told them.

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Disney's cable TV unit was hurt by subscriber losses, a decline in ad revenue at the sports network ESPN and two fewer college bowl games. The analyst believes it was "somewhat expected", so he remains unfazed that Studio revenue of $2.50 billion and Consumer/Interactive of $1.45 billion came up a bit short of consensus expectations.

Several of its segments missed the mark on the revenue front as well, including its media and networks branch, which raked in $6.24 billion.

"Our upcoming Disney DTC service will also combine the full range of BAMTech's capabilities with some of the world's most popular IP to deliver a compelling consumer experience when it launches in late 2019", he suggested. Out of 15 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 9 are bullish on Disney stock, 5 remain sidelines, and just 1 is bearish on the stock.

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ESPN Plus streaming service announced for Apple devices