Shang­hai: Dis­ney’s sil­ver lin­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By HE WEI in Bei­jing hewei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

YIN LIQIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

That’s Min­nie Mouse leading a pa­rade of Dis­ney car­toon char­ac­ters at the Shang­hai Dis­ney Re­sort.

ALAS­TAIR GRANT / AP

The show fea­tures an ar­ray of ro­bots whose faces range from fu­tur­is­tic to life­like.

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