Ratings matter, and slowed Disney over the summer


DisneyWalt Disney Co. is not expecting to meet its goals for its fiscal Q4, due to weaker-than-anticipated ratings for its networks. However, things are looking better in the immediate future.

According to a report from Marci Ryvicker of Wells Fargo, Disney CFO told a communications gathering that the company’s future has been positively marked by a strong upfront as well as by a lack of cancellations.

It is looking forward to a more beneficial relationship between its ESPN and Major League Baseball, including rights to broadcast what figures to be a very-high-interest wild card game, easing restrictions on local blackouts and increased broadband opportunities.

The combination of retransmission fees and reverse compensation is expected to reach the $400M-$500M level by 2015, and is expected to be felt beneficially on the company’s bottom line.

The company has increased its pace of stock repurchasing, and is expected to have pulled back about $3B worth by the end of FY2012. And a $50M write-off on the studio entertainment side, related to a dropped film project, was seen by Wells Fargo as a positive, if only because it indicates a stronger sense of discipline at the company