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12 months ago

Disney Strong For The Holidays


By Kimberly ChanWalt Disney Co.

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The fourth quarter earnings were released on November 8th, and the company had a 14% increase in profit and a 3% increase in revenue. Helping to boost earnings were the 2% increase in revenues from media networks and the 9% increase in revenues from parks and resorts from the year-earlier period.

Due to park investments over the past few years, Disney has already been experiencing higher attendance in Hong Kong, Paris, and Anaheim. In addition, Disney continues with the production of more cruise ships and the construction of a park in Shanghai.

Currently, there is much anticipation over the new renovations at Disney World amusement park in Orlando, Florida. One area of the park, Fantasyland, is undergoing expansion and improvements. A main highlight is the "Be Our Guest" Beauty and the Beast themed French restaurant. Opening on November 16th, it will be the first venue to serve alcohol in the park.

This among other improvements will entice even more tourists during the high-traffic holiday season. The entire Fantasyland area opens over the next few weeks, giving new Disney World tourists a reason to go and giving veterans a reason to return.

A Giving MentalityIn addition to fulfilling the expectations of amusement park visitors, Disney, known to be a philanthropic company, lived up to its reputation once again. On November 5th, the national "Day of Giving", the Disney/ABC Television Group helped to raise more than $16.8 billion for the American Red Cross.

While these funds will help many affected by Hurricane Sandy, this philanthropy garnered much publicity that will help Disney as well. The "Day of Giving" message was shown on multiple channels, TV shows, and talk shows. Perhaps during the holiday shopping season the repeated words of "Disney" and "giving" will stay in the back of the minds of parents and children.

Holiday Wish ListToy stores are filled to the brim with Disney merchandise. While the recent speculation that Disney intends to buy Hasbro HAS seems to have little backing, there is still plenty of revenue to be made off of the Mattel MAT toys in Disney Stores.

An iPad app allows customers to purchase on the go, and the website's new social media buttons facilitate sharing.

A Future with Star WarsIn addition, while Disney's Lucasfilm purchase in late October does not include the Hasbro-owned merchandise, it opens an even bigger opportunity. Lucasfilm is currently estimated to produce about $800 million in revenues each year. In addition, Disney will use the global franchise to release another movie in 2015. The "Star Wars" theme will also be further integrated into Disney amusement parks worldwide.

It seems hard to believe that the related merchandise in the new amusement park areas would not add to Disney's revenue. Perhaps by then Disney will have found a way to acquire Hasbro, adding to its happiness-inducing empire.

Source: Disney Strong For The HolidaysDisclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it other than from Seeking Alpha. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/999201-disney-strong-for-the-holidays
12 months ago

Gove to crack down on term time holidays


The education secretary, Michael Gove, is to crack down on parents who take children out of school to go on holiday.

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Headteachers will lose the ability to sanction up to two weeks a year of "authorised absence" during school term, in a new drive to improve attendance rates, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The discretionary absence is intended to cover illness, bad weather and bereavements, but many heads come under pressure to grant it so that children can be taken on holidays at times when it is cheaper.

The move, to be accompanied by tougher fines for parents of children who regularly play truant, follows a review of school discipline and attendance by teacher and behaviour expert Charlie Taylor.

It is thought that 4.5m days of schooling are missed by pupils going on holidays, which are often significantly more expensive during school breaks.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders which represents secondary school heads, said: "The discretionary 10 days has become a bit of a cultural expectation with parents viewing it as a right in some cases. It is not.

Parents taking children out to go on holiday just to get a good deal is disruptive and makes life very difficult for teachers."

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "This is a leak and we are not commenting on a leak."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/feb/19/gove-crack-down-term-holidays