The Street was disappointed by lower-than-expected revenues from Walt Disney’s earnings report on Wednesday, but investors should care more about the company’s multiple, said David Bank, media analyst for RBC Capital Markets.
“The question isn’t about earnings. The issue for this company is its multiple [how much investors are willing to pay]. Is this a best-of-breed media company or a best-of-breed brand company?” he said. “That's the difference between a 15 times multiple, kind of a mid-$40 stock, or a 17 to 18 times multiple. That's what execution is going to demonstrate over the 12 to 24 months."
As Bank spoke, the stock traded above $41 on the New York Stock Exchange.
For now, the “brand” part of Disney is doing
well. On Wednesay, the company reported parks and resorts
revenues up 10 percent year over year, while entertainment
revenues fell 16 percent.
“Attendance at the parks has been great, and they’re actually raising prices,” said Bank.
Indeed, reservations and rates are both pacing up by
mid-single digits, according to Disney's CEO
But even a hike in consumer spending isn’t the biggest news for the Magic Kingdom’s maker.
“To me the biggest thing that’s happened to this stock this month hasn’t been about this quarter, it was about the long-term deal they did with Comcast in January that locked up the future revenue stream at ESPN for 10 years," said Bank.
The 10-year programming carriage deal allows Comcast's Xfinity TV customers to watch Disney's ESPN and ABC networks live or on-demand on multiple devices.
Bank thinks this is great for Disney, which will collect affiliate fees from the deal.
“There's alot of people worried about moving to a la
carte pricing for Disney,” he said. “The Comcast
deal keeps the basic fee package in tact.”
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David Bank does not personally own shares in Walt Disney.