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Disney flexes its muscles with talks of Fox acquisition

11 November 2017

Iger also revealed the name of Disney-owned ESPN's new streaming service on Thursday.

Disney said Thursday it's already working on a new Star Wars trilogy to follow the series that's scheduled to wrap up in December 2019.

The company announced earlier this year that all Disney films, including Marvel and Star Wars films, would be removed from Netflix in 2019.

News that there will be a whole new "Star Wars" trilogy sent the internet rippling, and the films are no doubt expected to be blockbusters unless audiences start to feel Lucasfilm fatigue - which they haven't, so far.

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A similar ESPN streaming product will launch spring 2018, Iger said, fueled by Disney's $3.75 billion acquisition of the BAMtech digital platform from Major League Baseball. Plus, Disney plans to produce four or five movies a year exclusively for the service, Iger said.

Many saw this as the House of Mouse looking to bolster its on-demand library ahead of the SVOD launch, which Iger considers to be the only available revenue stream Disney is not properly exploiting yet. An original series from the Marvel universe is also in the works.

Weighing again on performance was the sports TV unit ESPN, which blamed lower advertising revenue and higher program costs.

Revenue of $12.78 billion was down 3% and missed expectations of $13.3 billion. Overall, since the state of the week shares of Fox proper have been boosted by 18%, and Disney's by 7%.

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As for its cable networks, operating income decreased US$15 million to US$1.2 billion due to a decrease at Freeform and partially offset by growth at the Disney Channels due to higher program sales. Netflix ended the September quarter with 109.25 million streaming subscribers worldwide, including 52.77 million in the US and 56.48 million in global markets.

Operating income for domestic parks, resorts, and Disney Cruise Line was down 6 percent because results were lower at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

For the quarter ended September 30, Disney reported earnings of $1.07 a share, excluding some items, missing the $1.14 average of analysts' estimates.

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Disney flexes its muscles with talks of Fox acquisition