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Disney sees big loss as pandemic hits parks, studios; subscriptions rise

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The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday reported its quarterly earnings were hit hard as the pandemic emptied theme parks and cruise ships, while it hit a new milestone for streaming subscriptions.

[SAN FRANCISCO] The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday reported its quarterly earnings were hit hard as the pandemic emptied theme parks and cruise ships, while it hit a new milestone for streaming subscriptions.

The entertainment colossus said it lost US$4.7 billion on revenue that revenue of US$11.8 billion - about half of the amount of money it took in during the same period last year.

"Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we've continued to build on the incredible success of Disney+ as we grow our global direct-to-consumer businesses," Disney chief executive Bob Chapek said in an earnings release for the quarter ending June 27.

The company has more than 100 million paid subscribers in what Mr Chapek touted as a "significant milestone" affirming the company's move to streaming its coveted content direct to homes.

That includes some 57.5 million for Netflix rival Disney+ along with some 35 million for Hulu and 8.5 million for its ESPN+ sports service.

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Earnings in the fiscal third quarter were hurt by the pandemic, with Disney's theme parks, resorts and cruise ships closed or operations suspended, according to the California-based company.

"The most significant impact in the current quarter from Covid-19 was an approximately US$3.5 billion adverse impact on operating income at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment due to revenue lost as a result of the closures," the company said in a statement.

Disney also reported higher costs to launch its online services, resulting in a US$706 million operating loss for the segment.

Disney shares held in a narrow range in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings.

AFP

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