Star Wars delivers for Disney but ESPN worries persist

  • The Walt Disney Company had a stellar quarter in the three months to January 2nd, posting record revenues of $15.2 billion (+14%) driven by what the company called the 'phenomenal success' of Star Wars. 
  • The Force Awakens helped boost studio earnings by 86% to $1.01 billion. 

  • The positive Star Wars news was overshadowed by a 6% decline in earnings at Disney's media networks, ABC and ESPN. 

  • Shareholders are concerned about the impact of 'cord cutting', where pay TV subscribers ditch their expensive monthly contracts in favour of less expensive streaming alternatives, on ESPN's profits. 

Alphabet reports revenues of $21.3 billion for fourth quarter

  • Google's parent company Alphabet posted its earnings for the three months to December on Monday, reporting an 18% rise in revenues versus the same period last year. *
  • For the first time, investors were offered an insight into revenues and profits at Google's experimental projects such as Google Fiber, Google X and Google Ventures

  • These so called 'bets' were separated in the earnings report from revenues and profits accumulated from the core Google business - advertising, search, YouTube and Android. 

  • Google reported operating income of $23.425 billion for the twelve months to December 31st from revenues of $74.541 billion. 

  • The 'bets' had an operating loss of $3.567 billion over the same period and revenues of $448 million. 

Google advertising revenues

in millions of $

In Q4, Google's advertising revenues grew 17% versus the same period in 2014. 

James Murdoch returns as Sky chairman

  • Sky has reappointed James Murdoch, son of founder Rupert Murdoch, as its chairman less than four years after he resigned from the position at the height of the phone hacking scandal.
  • The European pay TV giant said James Murdoch had a 'deep knowledge' of the media industry and a passion for supporting Sky.  

  • Mr. Murdoch is the chief executive officer of 21st Century Fox, which owns a 39% stake in Sky.

  • The announcement came as Sky revealed its results for the six months to December - revenue rose 5% to £5.72 billion, profits rose 12% to £747 million. 

  • The group, which is facing fierce competition from BT, Netflix and others, added 337,000 retail customers in the three months to December. 

  • It said it would launch is new multiscreen 'super premium' Sky Q in the UK and Ireland next month and a new Now TV streaming box with up to 60 free to air channels later this year - a new Sky HD box with Sky Q functionality will be launched in Italy and Germany. 

Microsoft and Amazon earnings highlight cloud business importance

  • Microsoft and Amazon both reported quarterly results on Thursday that illustrated the importance of the cloud to the two companies businesses. 

  • Microsoft's Intelligent Cloud amassed revenues of $6.3 billion, an increase of 5%. 

  • Amazon's Web Services cloud offering had revenues of $2.405 billion in the three months to December. 

  • AWS had an operating income of $687 million in the quarter.

  • Amazon as a whole had a net income of $482 million and operating income of $1.1 billion - the e-commerce giant's profit was well below analysts expectations for a quarter that included the holiday shopping period. +

  • Microsoft revenues for the quarter fell from $26.5 billion last year to $23.8 billion, while profits fell from $5.86 billion to just shy of $5 billion - however markets were pleased with the company's efforts to grow cloud revenues to offset the declining legacy PC side of the business. 

Useful Resource: Microsoft and Amazon financial reports

Amazon Web Services had revenues of $7.88 billion in the twelve months to December 31st, 2015.