New Star Wars trilogy raises Disney hopes

From BBC - November 9, 2017

Walt Disney profits declined last year - the first annual fall since 2009 - amid stepped-up competition from online rivals.

But shares rallied after it announced a deal to make three new Star Wars movies.

The company is also working on a live-action Star Wars series for a new online streaming service.

The firm said it is confident it still has the blockbusters audiences want.

Chief Executive Bob Iger said Disney had struck a deal with Rian Johnson, director of the upcoming "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," to create a new trilogy of the science fiction blockbuster.

"The Last Jedi" is the second movie in the current trilogy, and the deal assured fans and investors it would not be the last.

"We remain optimistic about our future, in part because quality truly does matter," Mr Iger said.

Disney shares rose about 1% in after hours trading, following an initial drop when Disney posted results.

The entertainment giant plans to launch a sports-focused ESPN+ app in the spring, and a Disney streaming service in 2019.

Disney boss Robert Iger said those investments, which add to an existing Disney subscription service in Europe, are "vital" to the firm's future.

"Our goal here is to be a viable player in the direct-to-consumer space, a space that we all know is a very compelling space to be in," he said on Thursday, after the firm published its results for its financial year, which ended in September.

Digging into the numbers


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