Walt Disney Posts Record Annual Profit

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Mr. Iger likely an accelerated timeline for a takeover of vital resources of

21st Century Fox
Inc.

FOX 0.66%

—the megadeal pushing a vital change to streaming—saying a merger could tighten “meaningfully earlier” than a mid-2019 date formerly projected.

The tie-up will concede Disney to launch a direct-to-consumer use in that radio shows formed on Disney franchises like “High School Musical” will tide alongside programming from Fox’s National Geographic brand, mixing dual party army in a approach that could rewrite Hollywood economics as normal studios take on new competitors from Silicon Valley and Netflix Inc.

Disney’s $71.3 billion merger of Fox is fueling a company’s pull for direct-to-consumer offerings that would underline a studio’s cinema and radio shows. On an gain call Thursday announcing fiscal-year results, Mr. Iger suggested a service’s name for a initial time: Disney+.

Despite Mr. Iger’s concentration on a direct-to-consumer models of a future, it was some of Disney’s many normal businesses—theme parks and movies—that gathering a association to a record opening in a just-ended mercantile year.

As with prior quarterly reports, analysts focused on Disney’s destiny as a streaming aspirant to Netflix, a plan being replicated by a competitors. ATT Inc., that progressing this year sealed a squeeze of Time Warner Inc., is posterior a direct-to-consumer use featuring a HBO channel and other holdings. Tech firms such as Apple Inc. have changed aggressively into party programming in new months.

Disney is betting that a library of dear characters and franchises will be adequate to captivate consumers who are already profitable monthly subscriptions to Netflix or progressing their wire packages.

The association has pronounced that a service, set to launch in late 2019, will underline programming that includes new “Star Wars” array from a Lucasfilm multiplication and superhero spinoffs from Marvel Studios. Disney’s other dual party divisions—Disney Animation and Pixar Animation—will be represented on a service, as good as programming from National Geographic, that Disney will acquire as partial of a Fox deal.

“It will be really brand-centric,” pronounced Mr. Iger.

Disney has announced programming for a newly named Disney+ piecemeal, nonetheless a some-more finish design is promised: a association pronounced it would horde investors in Apr for a display of a streaming-service plans. A website compelling a use went live during Thursday’s earning call.

In further to a Disney-branded service, a association will conduct dual other streaming services: ESPN+, expelled progressing this year after several buliding of sagging subscription numbers for ESPN’s wire channel, and Hulu, over that it is gaining infancy control in a Fox deal.

The Disney-Fox understanding will revoke a series of vital Hollywood studios to 5 from six. Disney will be producing some cinema exclusively for a streaming service, while also distributing facilities with normal melodramatic releases; nonetheless Mr. Iger pronounced he has no skeleton to digest a “window” of time between a movie’s melodramatic entrance and a accessibility in a home.

Earlier this week, a antitrust management of a European Union authorized a Disney-Fox tie-up, nonetheless some general jurisdictions have nonetheless to import in.

The $71.3 billion cost tab on a understanding is approaching to cringe by some-more than $20 billion with a sale of Fox’s interest in European pay-TV user Sky PLC to Comcast Corp. and a Justice Department assign to sell off Fox’s informal sports networks. Fox and News Corp, primogenitor association of The Wall Street Journal, share common ownership.

Despite losing a Sky interest to Comcast, Disney will hurl out Disney+ in Europe, Mr. Iger said, and a association skeleton to deliver Hulu to some-more unfamiliar markets once it assumes infancy control.

Profit for a 3 months finished Sept. 29 rose 33% to $2.32 billion, or $1.55 a share, while income rose 12% to $14.31 billion. Excluding one-time items, Disney warranted $1.48 a share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet approaching $1.34 a share in practiced distinction on $13.73 billion in revenue.

Disney pronounced it requisitioned a $157 million spoil assign on a investment in Vice Media, that is formulation to cut a workforce by as most as 15% to fight stalling growth.

For a year, Disney reported a record annual distinction of $12.6 billion on $59.43 billion in revenue, compared with a distinction of $8.98 billion and $55.14 billion in income a year earlier.

Disney has expelled 5 of a 10 highest-grossing cinema of 2018; a mercantile year, that finished Sept. 29, enclosed gargantuan hits such as “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “The Incredibles 2.”” 3 cinema that total collected scarcely $2 billion in sheet sales in a U.S. and Canada.

Operating income for Disney’s studio-entertainment multiplication rose 27% from final year. Disney’s parks-and-resorts multiplication saw annual handling income stand 18% as assemblage and prices continued to arise during a domestic locations.

Write to Erich Schwartzel during erich.schwartzel@wsj.com and Maria Armental during maria.armental@wsj.com

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