‘Spider-Man’ Explodes Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Q4 Revenue

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment May 10 reported fourth-quarter (ended March 31) revenue of $322 million, which was up 131% from revenue of $139 million during the previous-year period. The revenue uptick was primarily driven by the March 15 digital release of box office blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home across all online retail channels. The 2021 box office champion was not released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD until April 12.

For the fiscal year, home entertainment revenue topped $764 million, which was down less than 2% from revenue of $778 million in the prior fiscal year.

Fiscal-year theatrical revenue of more than $1.5 billion skyrocketed from revenue of just $53 million in fiscal year 2020 primarily due to the contribution of Spider-Man: No Way Home and other theatrical releases, as well as higher licensing revenue from digital streaming services for new film titles and higher licensing revenue for catalog product. These increases were partially offset by lower home entertainment and licensing revenue generated from prior year releases, due to the absence of significant theatrical releases in the previous fiscal year.

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Indeed, in addition to the timing of the No Way Home packaged-media release, SPHE had just seven 2020 theatrical releases to market in 2021, led by Monster Hunters with a total box office of $38 million. In the FY 2021, Sony released 14 theatrical titles.

Television production revenue increased 27% to more than $1.98 billion from $1.56 billion primarily due to the recording of revenue from the licensing of “Seinfeld” as well as an increase in deliveries of current year titles, as the previous fiscal year was negatively impacted by production delays due to COVID-19. Media Networks revenue for the fiscal year increased 30% to $2.6 billion from $2 billion primarily due to the impact of the acquisition of Crunchyroll.

Analyst: Wall Street Eyeing Netflix Q2 Guidance More Than Q1 Results

When Netflix announces first-quarter (ended March 31) fiscal results after the market close April 19, much of Wall Street will be focused on the streamer’s current Q2 guidance rather than Q1 results. New analysis from investment firm Bank of America finds the company finds that while subscriber growth remains important, guidance is slightly more important.

In a note to clients, analyst Nat Schindler contends Q2 guidance will be driven by the fourth season launch of “Stranger Things,” as well as subscriber response to the second season of “Bridgerton.”

“We are, however, somewhat concerned that the street is expecting too much from these in the seasonally weak Q2 [period] with estimates of 2.6 million new subs being higher than 1Q guidance — something that hasn’t happened in Netflix’s history,” Schindler wrote.

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Wall Street analysts project Netflix will earn $2.92 per share on $7.95 billion in revenue.

Schindler said he remains unclear why Netflix guided “so weak” in its Q1 guidance, adding that he isn’t sure the SVOD pioneer can “return to its pre-Covid growth trajectory or not and will be listening for commentary on changes in seasonality.”

Third party app data from Sensor Tower suggests that Netflix app downloads have cooled (down 6% from Q4) as Covid-related restrictions have lifted globally.

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At the same time, Schindler believes global subscriber trial traffic fell 1.88% in Q1, while pricing increased 3.93% in the quarter, and up 6% year-over-year.

“We believe that Netflix will continue to see long term durable growth despite short term tough comps and increasing competition,” Schindler wrote.

Redbox Lays Off 150 Employees, Delays Fiscal-2021 Report Release

Redbox Entertainment April 1 disclosed it laid off 150 employees, or 10% of its workforce, due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic. The venerable home entertainment brand also informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would delay filing its 2021 annual fiscal report for the period ended Dec. 31, 2021.

Redbox said the staff cuts, which occurred March 29, would help decrease annual operating costs by approximately $13.1 million, and that it would incur a one-time restructuring charge of about $3.8 million, with the bulk due to related to severance costs.

As previously disclosed, Redbox, which became a publicly traded company last October, said its 2021 business encountered higher marketing and content expenditures without increased offsetting revenue.

Jan. 28 the company borrowed the remaining availability under its revolving credit facility, and management has been actively taking steps to decrease monthly costs, delay capital expenditures and increase revenue.

Redbox is also exploring a number of potential strategic alternatives with respect to its corporate or capital structure and seeking financing to fund operations and one-time restructuring costs. The company’s board has established a strategic review committee to, among other things, consider and oversee strategic alternatives or transactions that may be available with respect to its corporate or capital structure.

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Redbox, in the filing, said the strategic review process, and ongoing financing negotiations, have involved significant resources and have been a priority for management, diverting significant management time and internal resources away from reviewing and completing its financial statements.

GameStop Ups Fiscal 2021 Revenue — and Loss

Game Stop’s first report card under new management suggests it still has a way to go in its quest to transition beyond its legacy retail footprint.

The nation’s largest video game retailer reported a fourth-quarter (ended Jan. 29) loss of $147.5 million on revenue of $2.25 billion. That compared with net income of $80.5 million on revenue of $2.12 billion in the previous-year period.

For the fiscal year, GameStop expanded its loss to $381.3 million on revenue of $6 billion. That compared with a fiscal loss of $215.3 million on $5 billion in revenue in 2020.

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When GameStop last year hired Chewy.com founder Ryan Cohen as its new chairman, the tech-savvy entrepreneur shook up senior management, transplanting the company’s brick-and-mortar retail focus with e-commerce and digital distribution, including hiring former Amazon executive Matt Furlong as CEO.

On the company’s March 17 earnings call, Furlong attributed the increased loss to growing pains as the company transitions away from packaged media to digital gaming and distribution. Indeed, the company plans to launch a branded non-fungible token marketplace by the end of Q2 in an effort to capitalize on the reported $40 billion NFT market.

The chain did up its “PowerUp” rewards membership program by 32% from 2020, ending last year with more than 5.8 million members.

“It is important to stress that GameStop had become such a cyclical business, and so capital-starved, that we have had to rebuild it from within,” Furlong said on the call. “We felt, and continue to feel, that investing in our customers and rebuilding brand loyalty right now is in the company’s best interest over the long term.”

Wall Street isn’t so sure. GameStop shares fell more than 7% in after-market trading.

Imax Touts 80 Million Disney+ Sub Access, Narrows Fiscal-Year Loss

High-definition exhibitor Imax Feb. 23 said business is almost back to pre-Covid 2019 days, as box office revenue increased 86% to $255 million in fiscal 2021 (ended Dec. 31), from $137 million in 2020. The fiscal loss declined nearly 85% to $22.3 million, from $143.8 million in 2020.

The exhibitor’s fourth quarter was highlighted by its strongest quarterly results since 2019 across key financial metrics, including: revenue growth of 94% to $108.6 million; improvement in net income to $10.1 million versus a loss of $21.2 million in the prior-year period.

Notably, the quarterly results met or exceeded pre-pandemic levels across key metrics. Imax delivered operating income, global box office and gross margin in the fourth quarter of 2021 that exceeded the fourth quarter of 2019.

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Separately, Imax lauded the availability of its “enhanced” movies on more than 80 million Disney+ approved devices. Imax Enhanced content on Disney+ features an expanded aspect ratio of 1.90:1, which allows viewers to see up to 26% more of the original image and experience the full scale and scope of the picture. This differs from most movies where the picture appears wide but does not take up the full height of the TV screen. Some movies only have select-sequences filmed in Imax’s expanded aspect ratio.

“In the fourth quarter alone, Imax turned in a dominating performance at the global box office, launched a major streaming partnership with Disney+, and created a series of exclusive events connecting theatrical and streaming in a way that few brands can,” CEO Richard Gelfond said in a statement.

“The fact that Imax is driving results at or above what we achieved in 2019 — which was by many measures, our best year ever — reaffirms that we are not an exhibitor and have moved beyond recovery mode,” Gelfond said. “With strong a balance sheet that affords us security and capital allocation flexibility, we are well-positioned to capitalize on our momentum and continue to evolve and grow our business.”

Cinedigm Narrows Q3 Fiscal Loss 95%, Posts Nine-Month Profit

Cinedigm’s ongoing transition to digital distributor across both ad-supported and subscription-based platforms is resonating on the bottom line.

The home entertainment distributor reported a third-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2021) net loss of $404,000, which marked a 95% improvement from a net loss of $9.6 million in the previous-year period. Revenue increased 40% to $14 million, from $9.9 million.

Through nine months of the fiscal year, Cinedigm reported net income of almost $4.6 million on revenue of $39.2 million. That compares with a net loss of $56.1 million on revenue of $23 million a year ago.

“We had our strongest results ever in streaming this quarter, registering triple-digit growth for the fourth quarter in row,” CEO Chris McGurk said in a statement.

Cinedigm’s film and television library grew to approximately 40,000 titles owned or under management at the end of the quarter. Of that total, about 35,000, or 90%, of the titles are streaming assets. This represents an increase of more than 14,000 titles, or 69%, over the prior-year quarter, and was driven by M&A activity of film, television and streaming channel catalogs, as well as ongoing content acquisitions, and efforts to support the company’s streaming and distribution businesses.

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Streaming minutes in the quarter rose to 1.33 billion, up 47% from the prior year quarter. Cumulative minutes streamed in the first nine months of the year were 3.92 billion, up more than 112% over the 184 billion minutes streamed in the prior year first nine months.

Monthly ad-supported streaming channel viewers in the quarter were approximately 33 million, up 44%, versus 22.6 million in the prior year quarter. Total subscribers to the company’s subscription video streaming services increased to approximately 954,000, a jump of 466% from the prior year quarter.

“In the quarter, we delivered more than 104% revenue growth in our streaming networks business, more than double the 50% annual growth guidance we provided earlier in the fiscal year,” added chief strategy officer Erick Opeka. “Our current content library of 35,000 streaming assets is one of the largest libraries in the world as compared to other key streaming service providers like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Tubi.”

Apple Ups Q1 Services Revenue 24% to Record $19.5 Billion

Apple Jan. 27 reported first-quarter (ended Dec. 25, 2021) services revenue of $19.5 billion, up 24% from revenue of $15.8 billion during the previous-year period. Services revenue includes sales of movies and TV shows on iTunes, the App Store, Mac App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and Apple News+, among others.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant posted an all-time quarterly revenue record of $123.9 billion, up 11% year-over-year from $111.6 billion.
“This quarter’s record results were made possible by our most innovative lineup of products and services ever,” CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “We are gratified to see the response from customers around the world at a time when staying connected has never been more important.”

Meanwhile, iPhone sales increased to $71.6 billion, compared with $65.5 billion in the previous-year quarter — underscoring the appeal of the new iPhone 13 model.

Mac sales increased 25% to $10.8 billion, from $8.6 billion a year ago. Apple iPad revenue fell almost 15% to $7.2 billion, from $8.4 billion. Wearables and home accessories revenue rose 14% to $14.7 billion, from $12.9 billion.

Best Buy Q2 Entertainment Revenue Soars 36%

Best Buy Aug. 24 reported a 36.4% increase in entertainment segment revenue for the second quarter, ended July 31. The unit, which includes products such as DVD/Blu-ray Disc movies, video game hardware and software, books, music CDs and computer software, generated revenue of $550 million, compared with revenue of $403 million in the prior-year period.

CEO Corie Barry attributed the increase to comparison with an “unusual quarter last year” as stores were limited to curbside service or in-store appointments for roughly half the quarter.

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“The [consumer] demand was bolstered by the overall strong consumer spending ability, aided by government stimulus, improving wages and high savings levels,” Barry said in a statement.

Based the double-digit same-store sales increases throughout the company, CFO Matt Bilunas said management was raising the fiscal outlook for the year.

“For the second half of FY22, we expect our comparable sales to be in the range of flat to down 3% versus last year, compared to our previous annual outlook that implied a high single-digit decline,” Bilunas said.

GameStop Q4 Profit Skyrockets, Driven by E-Commerce

GameStop on March 23 disclosed fiscal results for the fourth-quarter, ended Jan. 30, which saw net income skyrocket 391% to more than $80 million, from a profit of $21 million in the prior-year period.

The increase was driven by a  175% rise in e-commerce sales, which represented 34% of net sales in the quarter versus 12% of in the previous-year quarter. Same-store sales increased 6.5%.

GameStop, the nation’s largest video game retailer, has been on a rollercoaster ride this year, the result of being in the crosshairs of third-party speculators manipulating the company’s stock price based little on actual performance and more on mob rule.

Revenue in the quarter dropped less than 4% to $2.122 billion, compared with $2.194 billion last year, reflecting an operating environment that included a 12% decrease in the store base due to the company’s “de-densification” efforts and a reduction of approximately 27% in European store operating days during the quarter in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company wound down operations in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

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For the fiscal year, GameStop narrowed its fiscal loss nearly 55% to $215 million, from a loss of $471 million in 2019. Revenue declined more than 21% to $5.09 billion, from $6.5 billion.

“I am proud of how our entire organization came together in 2020 to adapt to the challenging pandemic environment, effectively serve our customers’ demand for gaming and entertainment products, and navigate through the year with strong liquidity and a strengthened balance sheet,” CEO George Sherman said in a statement.

Sherman said the retailer is off to a strong start in 2021, with same-store sales up 23% in February, led by global hardware sales.

“Our emphasis in 2021 will be on improving our e-commerce and customer experience, increasing our speed of delivery, providing superior customer service and expanding our catalog,” he said.


AMC Theatres Posts $4.58 Billion Fiscal Loss in 2020

There was only one fiscal winner at AMC Theatres in 2020: CEO Adam Aron. As expected, the world’s largest movie exhibitor March 10 reported a $4.58 billion loss for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2020. The chain, which has been operating about 67% of its domestic screens with government-mandated limited seating capacity limited to 20% to 40% due to the pandemic, lost $946.1 million in the fourth quarter, despite reporting attendance of more 8 million moviegoers worldwide in the quarter.

Revenue for the quarter dropped 89% to $162.5 million from $1.45 billion in the previous-year period. For the year, revenue tumbled 77% to $1.24 billion, from $5.5 billion.

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AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron

“This past year has presented AMC with the most challenging
market conditions in the 100-year history of the company,” Aron said in a statement. “As unprecedented as these times have been, so too is the unprecedented drive and commitment of the AMC team to take swift and decisive actions to ensure our survival and our success.”

Indeed, despite partial re-openings, attendance in the quarter plummeted 91% to 8 million, from 92.5 million in the previous-year period. For the fiscal year, attendance fell 79% to 75.1 million, from 356.4 million in 2019.

Aron, who saw his total 2020 compensation double to $20.9 million, which included $5 million in bonuses, said better days are just around the corner for exhibitors.

“As we sit here today, we see that vaccinations are occurring in the U.S. at a brisk clip, our theaters in New York City have finally opened, with theaters in Los Angeles likely opening shortly as well, blockbuster movie titles are currently scheduled to be released in significant quantity in the coming few months, and we have more than $1 billion of cash on hand,” Aron said. “Taking these facts together, we have reason to be optimistic about AMC’s ability to get to the other side of this pandemic.”