There’s good news and bad news for Big Entertainment today. Firstly, the actors strike is over, which means film and TV production can finally resume. Yippee! Second, the September-quarter results out Wednesday from Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery showed both are getting streaming losses under control. (In WBD’s case, it’s making money!). The bad news for the industry though is that television advertising is in free fall.
But as CEOs like to do, Disney’s Bob Iger and WBD’s David Zaslav emphasized the positive. On separate calls with analysts—before the strike news—both talked about all the work they’d done over the past year overhauling and cutting costs, and how they’re now able to pivot to expansion. Iger called it moving from “a period of fixing to a new era of building,” while Zaslav talked about WBD having the chance to “fight to grow in the next year.” Still, the overall picture for the two companies remains bleak. WBD eked out top-line growth of just 1%, while Disney’s entertainment businesses did only marginally better with an increase of 1.8%, both due in large part to price increases on streaming. Revenue from the old-school TV business, their biggest source of profits, declined for both, reflecting continued cord cutting and the advertising slump.