BUZZ-Disney slips as Barclays downgrades on 'slowdown' in streaming growth

Brokerage notes growth in core streaming service Disney+ has slowed this year despite new franchise titles

  

** Shares of media giant down 1.6% at $173.55 premarket as Barclays downgrades to "equal weight" from "overweight"

** Brokerage notes growth in core streaming service Disney+ has slowed this year despite new franchise titles ("Loki", "WandaVision", "Falcon"), movie releases ("Black Widow", "Raya", "Cruella", "Jungle Cruise"), and content hub Star+

** Says slowdown now could be due to growth pull forward into 2020 due to COVID-19, which has also impacted Netflix, but believes it could be due to structural factors capping growth

** DIS is running well below avg growth required to get to its goal of 150 mln subs by 2024, and ramping up spending is unlikely to be easy for Disney because of the way the co's content organization is set up - Barclays

** Says DIS has major exposure to China, where there are rising risks around tightening content measures, which could impact U.S. content and release dates;

** "This could become a bigger bottleneck in the coming quarters depending on how the policy environment evolves in China" - Barclays

** Brokerage lowers stock PT to $175 from $210

** DIS stock had fallen 2.6% YTD, vs a 19.04% growth in the S&P 500

(Anisha Sircar) ((Anisha.Sircar@thomsonreuters.com))


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