Speaking at the Citi Internet, Media and Telecommunications Conference in Las Vegas, Walt Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said that she expects “modest earnings growth” in 2017 with programming costs projected to rise 8%, largely a result of ESPN’s new NBA deal.
McCarthy added that the company expects to launch direct-to-consumer ESPN service in 2017 but it will not be a replacement to the ESPN linear networks.
Turning to the movie business, McCarthy said that the company is releasing 7 films in fiscal 2017, and 11 in 2018 with four of those being Marvel films, two Star Wars films and three animated movies. The total global box office for “Star Wars: Rogue One” is currently a little over $825 million.
Lastly, the CFO has not changed her mind regarding mergers and acquisitions, as the company will continue to invest in high-quality, branded content, leverage technology and expand overseas.