Shanghai: Disney’s silver lining
The hectic traffic at the Shanghai Disney Resort was among the few bright spots to partially offset the earnings drop suffered by The Walt Disney Co, which posted slack firstquarter revenue dragged by its cable businesses at home.
Among the four pillar businesses of the entertainment conglomerate, Parks and Resorts was the only segment that saw both revenue and operating income expand, by 6 percent and 13 percent, respectively, the California-headquartered company said.
Operating income for Media Networks, Walt Disney’s largest segment, posted a 4 percent decline from a year earlier, citing higher programming costs and lower advertising revenue at cable service ESPN.
Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger attributed the Parks and Resorts segment’s encouraging sales to the opening of the Shanghai park, which has received more than 7 million visitors since its opening in June.
“The Shanghai Disney Resort is off to a strong start. We’re thrilled with this performance, and could potentially exceed 10 million in total attendance by the resort’s first anniversary,” Iger said.
The Shanghai Disney Resort, which includes a theme park, two themed-hotels and a Broadway-style theater, among other settings, created a special lineup of festive activities during its first Chinese Lunar New Year celebration.
With Disney cartoon figures dressing up in traditional Chinese costumes, the park welcomed visitors with a variety of entertainment programs, seasonal food and beverage offerings, and lucky bags.
“Operating at maximum capacity for virtually the entire holiday period, the huge attendance during Chinese New Year adds to our confidence in the resort’s ability to reach breakeven in this fiscal year,” Iger said.
There is still room for development for the Shanghai resort, as similar Disney parks in California and Tokyo drew 18.3 million and 16.6 million visitors in 2015, the organization said.
“China’s expanding middle class means that there are likely to be opportunities for growth at Shanghai Disney,” said Qi Xiaozhai, a senior consultant at the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce.
Walt Disney posted fiscal firstquarter earnings per share of $1.55 on $14.78 billion in revenue. The results represent a 3 percent yearon-year decline in revenue and a 10 percent drop in profit per share.
That’s Minnie Mouse leading a parade of Disney cartoon characters at the Shanghai Disney Resort.
The show features an array of robots whose faces range from futuristic to lifelike.