The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 05, 2019 • 04:30 pm ET


The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to The Walt Disney Company's Fiscal First Quarter 2019 Financial Results Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session, and instructions will follow at that time. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to introduce your host for today's conference Mr. Lowell Singer, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations. Sir, you may begin.

Lowell Singer

Thank you. Good afternoon, and welcome to The Walt Disney Company's first quarter 2019 earnings call. Our press release was issued about 25 minutes ago and is available on our website at Today's call is also being webcast and a transcript of the call will be available on our website.

Joining me for today's call are Bob Iger, Disney's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Christine McCarthy, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Bob will lead off, followed by Christine, and then of course we'll be happy to take some of your questions.

So with that, I'll turn the call over to Bob and we'll get started.

Robert A. Iger

Thanks, Lowell, and good afternoon. Before Christine talks about the quarter, I have just a few comments about what we're working on and what we're excited about. First, I'd like to congratulate our studio for its 17 Oscar nominations, seven of which went to Marvel's Black Panther, including an historic nomination for Best Picture. Together Disney and 21st Century Fox received 37 nominations an indication of the creative potential of the combined companies.

As you know DTC remains our number one priority. Our corporate reorganization was designed to support our DTC efforts, while providing greater degree of transparency into our investment and our progress in the space. We remained focused on the programming as well as the technology to drive the success of our DTC business and we're thrilled with the continued growth of ESPN Plus.

The very first UFC fight night under our new five year rights deal, led nearly 600,000 fans to sign up to the service. The fact that 49 million Americans, 15% of the entire population watched ESPN content on linear TV that day and millions more engaged on other platforms including ESPN Plus, speaks to the enduring power of live sports, the strength of the ESPN brand and the value of the UFC rights we acquired. We expect the expansion of combat sports content on the streaming service to drive continued growth in the months ahead.

ESPN Plus now has 2 million paid subscriptions, double the number from just five months ago. ESPN Plus operates on BAMTech's platform which has proved to be reliably stable during peak live streaming consumption and easily handled the volume of more than 0.5 million people signing up in a single 24 hour period. This same technology will power Disney Plus when it launches later this year. We have a number of great creative engines across our company, all of which are dedicating