Disney's ESPN Plus streaming service: What's the story so far?

3 things to watch as Disney reports first-quarter earnings

Which is good news, seeing as Disney's media networks reported flat revenue and a 12% decline in operating income due to weaker ad sales at ESPN.

In December, Disney agreed to buy assets of Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox for about $52.4 billion. First-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $1.61 and $15.5 billion in revenues. Advertising revenue at ESPN also dropped; Disney cited a timing shift in college football playoff games as one reason. Analysts' outlook called for revenue of $6.35 billion in this category.

The strong quarter was the result of an uptick in revenue across Disney's global theme parks, as well as recently enacted federal tax changes, which led to a $1.6 billion financial boost for the company.

Although you can now access ESPN's content through skinny TV streaming services like Sling TV, which allow you to purchase add-on sports packages, Disney's new ESPN streaming service would mark the first time the broadcaster has been available through an independent, multi-sport, Disney-owned service that doesn't have any licensing limitations and isn't tied to a third party like Sling TV.

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Analysts are also expecting Disney to address cord cutting and the film studio, given Star Wars: The Last Jedi fell short of some expectations while Pixar's Coco and Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok have done well. And it's going to make use of BAMTech, the streaming technology company that Disney paid $1.58 billion for a majority stake in.

"You'll see a blend of investment going forward that will be somewhat similar to the way we've been investing before", he said, pointing to the company's track record of investing in organic growth.

"The strategic investments we've made have driven meaningful growth over the long term, and we remain confident in our ability to continue to deliver significant shareholder value", said CEO Robert Iger. That may not bode well either for the Han Solo spinoff due this May or for the two new trilogies in the works - the latest, announced on Tuesday, to be written by the creators of "Game of Thrones". Cable accounted for 72 percent of Disney's TV revenues, or $4.49 billion.

Disney is seeking to transform itself into a digital entertainment giant to rival subscription services such as Netflix that let viewers watch films and TV shows online. Disney and Netflix announced a year ago that its landmark streaming deal will expire by the end of 2019, but not all films will leave the platform immediately.

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