The reasons included increase in rights costs related to the Indian Premier League (IPL) and ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. As per Disney, the revenue growth at Star was offset by the incremental increase in rights expense. In the same quarter of the previous fiscal, Star had posted an operating profit of $150 million.
Also, Disney’s segment operating loss increased to $553 million due to the consolidation of Hulu ’s operations, ramp-up of investment in ESPN+ and costs associated with the upcoming launch of Disney+.
D noted that Star India’s Q3 result was significantly lower than the expectations. She also noted that the 21st Century Fox (21CF) film studio performance was also not up to the expectations.
Disney Senior EVP & CFO Christine McCarthy said: “On Star, it was the quadrennial Cricket World Cup, of course. They have their Indian Premier League, which is ongoing, but this is once every four years for the World Cup. There were a couple of significant games that were rained out. They have insurance coverage for some of those, but any proceeds would be in future periods. And there was also some weakness in advertising revenue that was related to the local advertising market.”
The Walt Disney Company chairman & CEO Bob Iger said: “The addition of Star and Hotstar will give Disney a significant presence in India, which, he noted, will soon become the most populous country in the world. It’s a huge market with interesting dynamics notably, a rapidly rising middle class with a strong and growing appetite for media, especially sports.”