Walt Disney earnings: $1.36 per share, vs expected EPS of $1.40

Disney earnings lower than Wall Street expectations

Walt Disney posted disappointing quarterly earnings Tuesday, as the media giant enjoyed huge box-office success but saw growth in its key media networks and parks segments fall short of estimates.

The company reported adjusted earnings of $1.36 per share on $12.97 billion in revenue for its fiscal 2016 second quarter. Its earnings per share missed analysts' estimates for the first time in five years. Still, adjusted EPS rose 11 percent from the prior-year period, while sales climbed 4 percent.

Analysts expected Disney to report earnings of $1.40 per share on $13.19 billion in revenue, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate. Shares dropped about 6 percent in after-hours trading.

Disney also said it took a $147 million charge to cancel its sagging Infinity video game line and will focus only on licensing characters for games going forward. The company added that "lower results" for Infinity contributed to operating income in its consumer products and interactive media segment falling 8 percent year over year to $357 million.

Wall Street has been skeptical of Disney despite blowout numbers for its movie studio business. Concerns about media networks, its largest segment, have weighed on Disney shares.

Sales in the unit were $5.79 billion for the quarter, about flat from the year-earlier period and missing estimates for $5.9 billion, according to StreetAccount. Operating income was $2.3 billion, up 9 percent year over year and just below estimates for $2.34 billion.

Disney said performance at sports network ESPN, a recent cause of concern for Wall Street, improved "due to the benefit of lower programming costs and higher affiliate revenues." Ad sales at the network also fell 13 percent because fewer College Football Playoff games took place in the quarter relative to the previous year.

On the company's conference call, Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger did not give specific guidance on subscribers. However, he said the company has seen positive developments in talks with distributors and noted that distributors like Sling TV said they saw "very encouraging" sign-up trends once they added ESPN.

"Captain America: Civil War" expects to have a massive debut.
Marvel's 'Civil War' reaps massive $182 million open amid rave reviews
A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse stands in front of the Cinderella's castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Want to live like a Disney princess? This fairytale palace may cost you $2.5B

For Disney's parks and resorts business, sales of $3.93 billion came in below the forecast of $4.03 billion.

Meanwhile, the film unit continues to see strong growth. Studio entertainment revenue of $2.06 billion easily topped expectations of $1.9 billion, according to StreetAccount. Sales grew 22 percent from the prior-year period, while operating income for the segment grew 27 percent to $542 million.

Disney has enjoyed huge box-office success this year. "Zootopia" has raked in about $958 million worldwide, while "The Jungle Book" has added another $780 million. "Captain America: Civil War," meanwhile, made about $673 million globally in less than two weeks.

Those films' success follows the strength of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the top-grossing film of last year.

Disney shares have climbed about 1.5 percent this year but have fallen more than 3 percent in the past 12 months.

Iger also addressed the company's succession plan for when his contract expires in 2018. It was thrown into doubt when Disney said earlier this year that Chief Operating Officer Thomas Staggs, Iger's heir apparent, would step down.

Iger said he did not plan to stay beyond his current contract, but added that Disney "believes it has ample time to identify a successor."