What's going on?
Wakanda forever! On Tuesday, the record-breaking Black Panther movie left Disney shareholders screaming “What are those?!” at the extra profits the company made in its first quarter.
What does this mean?
Disney’s quarterly sales grew by almost 10% and its profits by more than 20% compared to last year (tweet this). The growth was unsurprisingly led by the Mouse’s film segment, with a little help from the small worlds of its theme parks, which may have benefited from a consumer shift towards buying experiences over stuff. It’s just as well something was there to paper over the cracks in Disney’s television business: more and more Americans are ending their fairytale romance with pay-TV in favor of on-demand subscription services from the likes of Amazon and Netflix.
Why should I care?
For markets: Black Panther: a Cinderella story.
While media analysts cheered Disney’s better-than-expected results, its stock still fell by 2% on Wednesday. Despite the success of Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, it’s the company’s ongoing bid to buy most of 21st Century Fox that’s gripping investors as the clock strikes midnight. Disney’s $52 billion offer may yet be trumped by Comcast’s $60 billion, but the Happiest Place on Earth remains optimistic; if it fails, that’d put a dent in Disney’s plans to beef up its new online streaming business with original content.
The bigger picture: Fox hunting for sport.
On Wednesday, 21st Century Fox announced a deal to acquire seven local American TV channels from Sinclair Broadcast Group for around $1 billion – the latter is selling in order to win regulatory approval for its $4 billion purchase of Tribune Media Group. From Fox’s perspective, the channels are in cities where American football’s NFL is big. They’d therefore go nicely with its existing regional sports networks, and help give some coherence to the “whole new world” it offers its potential suitors.