In this article, we will compare the 2015 revenues of the top six Hollywood studios – Disney Movies, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox Film, Sony Pictures, and Paramount Pictures. These are one of the key businesses of the following media & entertainment conglomerates – The Walt Disney Company, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Time Warner Inc, Twenty-First Century Fox, Sony, and Viacom. We will first look at the revenue profile of each of these conglomerates and analyze the share of the movie’s business in their total revenues. Then, we will rank the studios by their theatrical distribution revenues and home entertainment revenues in the filmed entertainment segment.
If you’re interested in the movie industry, you might also like to read this article on the most and least profitable movie remakes to date.
Ranking the major Hollywood studios by their revenues is not a straightforward exercise. It is somewhat tricky because of the following three key reasons. First, the fiscal year of different companies ends in different quarters. The fiscal year of Sony ends in March, Twenty-first Century Fox in June, The Walt Disney Company and Viacom in September, and NBC Universal and Time Warner in December. So, in order to do a like-to-like comparison, one must use quarterly numbers rather than the fiscal-year end numbers. Second, Sony reports its revenues in the Japanese Yen. So, they need to be converted to U.S. dollars before making a comparison. Third, revenue type definitions and revenue type details reported by the companies vary from one another. So, one must have a clear understanding of what is included and what is excluded in the revenues before making a comparison.
One more thing. In some cases, the quarter does not end on the last day of the month for revenue reporting purposes. For example, In the case of Disney, December 2014 quarter ended on December 27, 2014, instead of December 31, 2014, and December 2015 quarter ended on January 2, 2016. So, Disney 2015 revenues had six additional days of revenues. This was not the case with other companies.
In this article, we will compare the revenues of the companies for the year 2015, i.e., twelve months ending in December. We took revenues for the four quarters ending in March, June, September, and December during 2015 and added them up to calculate the 2015 revenues of all the companies. We converted Sony’s revenues from Yen to Dollars using currency exchange rates provided by Sony for the different quarters.
The Walt Disney Company Revenue Composition in 2015
The Walt Disney Company generated $54.3 billion of total revenues in 2015. The revenues of its different business segments are provided below.
Media Networks. The company generated $23.7 billion in revenues, 43.7% of the total, from the media networks business segment. It includes revenue from cable and broadcast television networks, television production operations, television distribution, domestic television stations, and radio networks and stations.
Parks and Resorts. The company generated $16.5 billion in revenues, 30.4% of the total, from the parks and resorts business segment. It includes revenue from: the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida; the Disneyland Resort in California; Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii; the Disney Vacation Club; the Disney Cruise Line; Adventures by Disney; ownership interests in Disneyland Paris (81%), Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (47%) and Shanghai Disney Resort (43%); and royalties by Tokyo Disney Resort.
Studio Entertainment. The company generated $8.2 billion in revenues, 15.1% of the total, from the studio entertainment business segment. It includes revenue from the distribution of live-action and animated motion pictures in the theatrical, home entertainment and television markets; stage play ticket sales; the distribution of recorded music; and licensing revenues from live entertainment events. Of the $8.2 billion, Disney generated $3.0 billion from theatrical distribution, $1.8 billion from home entertainment, and $3.4 billion from television and SVOD (subscription video on demand) distribution and other.
The Company distributes films primarily under the Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Touchstone banners. The Company produces and distributes Indian movies under the UTV banner. Disney’s top-grossing films in 2015 include Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Inside Out, Cinderella, and Ant-man.
Consumer Products & Interactive Media. The company generated $5.8 billion in revenues, 10.7% of the total, from the consumer products and interactive media business segment. It primarily includes revenues from licensing characters and content from Disney’s film, television and other properties to third parties for use on consumer merchandise, published materials and in multi-platform games; sales of games for mobile platforms, books, magazines, and comic books; sales of branded merchandise through retail, online, and wholesale businesses.
Comcast/NBCUniversal Revenue Composition in 2015
Comcast Corporation generated $74.5 billion of total revenues in 2015. Of these, $46.9 billion revenues came from Comcast Cable business and $28.5 billion revenues came from NBCUniversal. $0.8 billion were from Corporate and Other and -$1.6 billion were Eliminations. The revenues of the different business segments of NBCUniversal are provided below.
Cable Networks. The company generated $9.6 billion in revenues from the cable networks business segment. It includes revenue from national cable networks that provide a variety of entertainment, news, and information, and sports content; international cable networks; regional sports and news networks; cable television studio production operations; and various digital media properties.
Broadcast Television. The company generated $8.5 billion in revenues from the broadcast television business segment. It includes revenue from NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks; NBC and Telemundo local broadcast television stations; NBC Universo national cable network; and broadcast television studio production operations.
Filmed Entertainment. The company generated $7.3 billion in revenues from the filmed entertainment business segment. It includes revenue from the distribution of live-action and animated filmed entertainment in the theatrical, home entertainment and television markets; production and licensing of live stage plays; and Fandango – their movie ticketing and entertainment business. Of the $7.3 billion revenues, the filmed entertainment segment generated $2.8 billion from theatrical distribution, $1.8 billion from home entertainment, $1.9 billion from content licensing, and $0.7 billion from other.
The company produces films primarily under Universal Pictures, Illumination, and Focus Feature names. Universal’s top-grossing films in 2015 include Jurassic World, Furious 7, Minions, Pitch Perfect 2, and Fifty Shades of grey.
Theme Parks. The company generated $3.3 billion in revenues from the theme parks business segment. It primarily includes revenues from Universal theme parks in Orlando, Florida, and Hollywood, California. The segment generates revenue primarily from ticket sales and guest spending at Universal theme parks. Guest spending includes in-park spending on food, beverages, and merchandise. The company also receives license fees from third parties that own and operate the Universal Studio Singapore theme park and Universal Studios Japan theme park.
Eliminations. -$0.3 billion were eliminations. It consisted primarily of transactions that involve the licensing of film and television content from the Filmed Entertainment and Broadcast Television segments to the Cable Networks segment.
Time Warner Inc Revenue Composition in 2015
Time Warner Inc generated $28.1 billion of total revenues in 2015. The revenues of its different business segments are provided below.
Turner. The company generated $10.6 billion in revenues, 37.7% of the total, from the Turner business segment. It includes revenue from cable networks and digital media properties.
Home Box Office. The company generated $5.6 billion in revenues, 20.0% of the total, from the Home Box Office business segment. It includes revenue from premium pay television and streaming services domestically and premium pay, basic tier television and streaming services internationally.
Warner Bros. The company generated $12.9 billion in revenues, 46.2% of the total, from the Warner Bros. business segment. It includes revenue from the content which is made available for initial exhibition in theaters (theatrical product); the content which is made available for initial airing on television (television product); and mobile and console games published and distributed by the company (videogames and other). Of the $12.9 billion, Warner Bros. generated $5.1 billion from the theatrical product, $5.6 billion from television product, and $2.2 billion from videogames and others.
Warner Bros. theatrical product revenues consist of the following: film rentals revenues, which refers to the rental fees paid by theaters for the theatrical exhibition of feature films; television licensing revenue; home video and electronic delivery revenue; and revenues from intellectual property licensing. Of the $5.1 billion theatrical product revenues, Warner Bros. generated $1.6 billion from film rentals, $1.7 billion from home video and electronic delivery, $1.6 billion from television licensing, and $0.3 billion from consumer products and other.
Warner Bros. produces feature films under its Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema banners. Warner Bros. top-grossing films in 2015 include American Sniper, San Andreas, Mad Max: Fury Road, Creed, and Get Hard.
Eliminations. -$1.1 billion were inter-segment eliminations.
Twenty-First Century Fox Revenue Composition in 2015
Twenty-First Century Fox (21CF) generated $26.5 billion of total revenues in 2015. The revenues of its different business segments are provided below.
Cable Network Programming. The company generated $14.3 billion in revenues, 54.1% of the total, from the cable network programming business segment. It includes revenue from cable production and licensing of programming distributed primarily through cable television systems, direct broadcast satellite operators, telecommunication companies, and online video distributors in the United States and internationally.
Television. The company generated $4.9 billion in revenues, 18.8% of the total, from the television business segment. It includes revenue from the broadcasting of network programming in the United States and the operation of 28 full-power broadcast television stations.
Filmed Entertainment. The company generated $8.4 billion in revenues, 31.9% of the total, from the filmed entertainment business segment. It includes revenue from the production and acquisition of live-action and animated motion pictures for distribution and licensing in all formats in all entertainment media worldwide, and the production and licensing of television programming worldwide.
Twentieth Century Fox Film (TCFF) is one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures. The motion pictures are produced or acquired by the following units of 20th Century Fox Film: Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox International Productions, and Twentieth Century Fox Animation. The company’s top-grossing films in 2015 include The Martian, Home, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Peanuts Movie, and Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Corporate and Eliminations. -$1.1 billion were corporate and eliminations.
Sony Corporation Revenue Composition in 2015
Sony generated $67.9 billion of total revenues in 2015. The revenues of the different business segments are provided below.
Mobile Communications. The segment generated $10.2 billion in revenues, 15.1% of the total revenues. It includes revenues from the manufacture and sale of mobile phones and Internet-related service business.
Game & Network Services. The segment generated $12.6 billion in revenues, 18.5% of the total revenues. It includes revenues from the manufacture and sales of home gaming products, network services business and production and sales of software.
Imaging Products & Solutions. The segment generated $6.0 billion in revenues, 8.9% of the total revenues. It includes revenues from the sales of Digital Imaging Products, Professional Solutions, and Medical business.
Home Entertainment & Sound. The segment generated $9.7 billion in revenues, 14.3% of the total revenues. It includes revenues from the sales of Televisions, and Audio and Video.
Devices. The segment generated $8.0 billion in revenues, 11.8% of the total revenues. It includes revenues from the Semiconductors and Components businesses.
Pictures. The segment generated $7.6 billion in revenues, 11.1% of the total revenues. It includes revenues from Motion Pictures, Television Productions, and Media Networks businesses. Sony Pictures Entertainment (“SPE”), a U.S.-based operation aggregates the results of these businesses. The details of these businesses are as follows:
- Motion Pictures. It includes the worldwide production, acquisition, and distribution of live-action and animated motion pictures and direct-to-video content. SPE’s motion picture production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Classics, and TriStar Pictures. SPE generated $3.6 billion from the motion pictures group.
- Television Productions. It includes the production, acquisition, and distribution of television programming including scripted series, unscripted reality, daytime serials, game shows, animated series, made for television movies and miniseries and another programming. SPE generated $2.2 billion from the television production group.
- Media Networks. It includes the operation of television and digital networks worldwide. SPE generated $1.8 billion from the media networks group.
Music. The segment generated $5.0 billion in revenues, 7.3% of the total revenues. It includes revenues from Recorded Music, Music Publishing and Visual Media and Platform.
Financial Services. The segment generated $8.9 billion in revenues, 13.1% of the total revenues. It includes revenues from the individual life insurance and non-life insurance businesses in the Japanese market and a bank business in Japan.
All Other. The segment generated $2.8 billion in revenues, 4.1% of the total revenues. All Other consists of various operating activities, including, the disc overseas manufacturing business and the PC business.
Corporate & Elimination. -$2.9 billion were corporate & eliminations.
Viacom Revenue Composition in 2015
Viacom generated $13.1 billion of total revenues in 2015. The revenues of its different business segments are provided below.
Media Networks. The segment generated $10.4 billion in revenues, 79.5% of the total revenues. The Media Networks segment is comprised of three brand groups – the Global Entertainment Group, the Nickelodeon Group, and BET Networks. Media Networks segment includes brands such as Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, SPIKE, BET, CMT, TV Land, Nick at Nite, Nick Jr., Channel 5 (in the United Kingdom), Logo, Nicktoons, TeenNick, and Paramount Channel.
Filmed Entertainment. The segment generated $2.8 billion in revenues, 21.2% of the total revenues. It includes revenue from motion pictures, television programming and other entertainment content under the Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Nickelodeon Movies, MTV Films, and Paramount Television brands. The segment generates revenues primarily from the release and/or distribution of motion pictures theatrically, through home entertainment, and by licensing to television and digital platforms. It also generates revenue from the licensing and distribution of television programming and ancillary activities. Of the $2.8 billion, the company generated $0.8 billion from theatrical, $0.8 billion from home entertainment, $1.0 billion from license fees, and $0.2 from ancillary activities.
Eliminations. -$0.1 billion were eliminations.
Ranking Top Hollywood studios by Theatrical and Home Entertainment Revenues
In the sections above, we looked at the revenues of the major Hollywood studios and their revenue share in the total revenues of the media conglomerate that owns them. Now, we will rank the top Hollywood studios by their revenues.
We can not compare the studios by their filmed entertainment revenues because of the different revenue definitions. For example, TCFF includes both revenues from motion pictures and television programming licensing in its filmed entertainment revenues. Disney includes revenues from recorded music and live entertainment events in its studio entertainment revenues. NBCUniversal includes revenues from movie ticketing business and live stage plays in its filmed entertainment business.
So, instead of comparing the studios by their filmed entertainment revenues, we will compare them by their theatrical revenues and home entertainment revenues. We will not be able to compare Twentieth Century Fox Film (TCFF) and Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group because they do not provide details of their filmed entertainment revenues by theatrical distribution, home entertainment, television licensing, and other.
In terms of theatrical revenue in 2015, Disney movies were the top studio with $3.0 billion in revenue. Then, we have Universal Pictures with $2.8 billion revenues, Warner Bros. with $1.6 billion revenues, and Paramount pictures with $0.8 billion revenues.
In terms of home entertainment revenue in 2015, Disney movies were again the top studio with $1.84 billion in revenue. Then, we have Universal Pictures with $1.80 billion revenues, Warner Bros. with $1.7 billion revenues, and Paramount pictures with $0.8 billion revenues.