ESPN Reshuffles Popular Brands

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Disney  (DIS)-owned ESPN news division is reshuffling three of its most successful brands and bringing them under one umbrella. Under the structure, newly appointed Marie Donoghue will oversee ESPN Films, Bill Simmon's Grantland and Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog.

This news follows reports earlier this week that Disney had reached a deal with Dish Network to give the satellite TV provider Internet streaming rights. The deal provides an avenue for Dish to create the first on-demand Internet streaming network by allowing it to stream Disney owned content over the internet.

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ESPN is seen as one of the "must have" channels in cable and satellite packages and the deal with Dish Network marks the first time that a U.S. pay-TV provider was given latitude by a media company to offer its content over the Internet to mobile, laptops and tablet devices.

Grantland and ESPN Films are two of ESPN's most recognizable divisions. Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog received immense recognition after he successfully predicted the winner of 49 out of 50 states in the 2008 Presidential election and followed up with a perfect 50 for 50 in the 2012 election. FiveThirtyEight was brought to ESPN last July.

Disney was up 0.3% to $80.19 at 12:22 p.m. EST.

TheStreet Ratings team rates DISNEY (WALT) CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate DISNEY (WALT) CO (DIS) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • DIS's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 4.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.5%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 33.76% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 47.87% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, DIS should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • DISNEY (WALT) CO has improved earnings per share by 33.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, DISNEY (WALT) CO increased its bottom line by earning $3.38 versus $3.12 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.02 versus $3.38).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Media industry average. The net income increased by 33.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1,382.00 million to $1,840.00 million.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Media industry and the overall market, DISNEY (WALT) CO's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: DIS Ratings Report
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