The happiest place on earth is struggling. ESPN, once the profit engine for Disney, is now weighing down the company’s earnings (lower ad revenue and higher programming costs will do that). The Mouse House’s total 2017 revenue was down 1% from the year before, partly due to declines in its media networks business, which is comprised of ESPN and other networks. On the plus side, Disney’s parks and resorts business saw an uptick in average guest spending and attendance in 2017. And the entertainment juggernaut has plenty of tricks up its sleeves: The company is on track to launch a streaming service and remove its content from Netflix. To help generate—not to mention control distribution of—even more of its own content, Disney plans to acquire 21st Century Fox—a move that recently won antitrust approval. (Rival Comcast has also thrown a wrench into the mix by announcing its own offer for another Fox asset, Sky.)
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