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Will Disney’s ESPN Advertising Keep Falling in Fiscal 1Q17?

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Disney’s Media Networks segment

The Walt Disney Company’s (DIS) Media Networks segment earns the majority of its revenues from affiliate fees, advertising revenues, and the ABC television network.

Disney stated during its fiscal 2016 earnings call that in fiscal 1Q17, so far, advertising revenues at Disney’s ESPN are down from the same quarter last year. The company further explained that the reason for declining advertising revenues was the timing of College Football games. The company also stated that, in fiscal 1Q17, ESPN will broadcast only three games from New Year’s six bowl. In contrast, all six New Year’s six bowl games were in fiscal 1Q16. This change could also affect advertising revenues for Disney’s Media Networks segment.

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Advertising revenues for Media Networks in fiscal 2016

In fiscal 2016, as the chart above shows, advertising revenues made up 36% of Disney’s Media Networks segment. The Media Networks segment recorded advertising revenues of $8.5 billion in fiscal 2016, up 2% year-over-year.

However, Disney’s ESPN—which is also a part of its Media Networks segment—saw its advertising revenues fall 13% year-over-year in fiscal 4Q16. According to Disney, the decrease in advertising revenues for Disney’s ESPN was due to three reasons: “a significant decrease in daily fantasy advertising, an additional week of ad revenue in Q4 last year, and the impact of ad dollars being diverted to Olympics programming.”

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