Dow Jones Slips as Disney Stock Soars, Apple Plans In-house Modem

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down about 0.13% at 11:05 a.m. EST Friday, but it was outperforming the other major indexes thanks to Disney (NYSE:DIS). The entertainment conglomerate nearly tripled its four-year outlook for Disney+ subscribers at its Investor Day event, news that sent the stock more than 10% higher.

Shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) weren’t so lucky, slumping a bit after the company reportedly began work on an in-house modem chip. This will allow Apple to reduce its dependency on chip companies for its devices, but it was news that was known to be coming sooner or later.

Image source: Disney.

Disney isn’t messing around

The Disney+ streaming service has been an incredible success, with over 86 million subscribers a little more than a year after launch. The company was originally targeting 60 million to 90 million subscribers by 2024.

The pandemic increased the popularity of streaming services as people spent more time at home, and the closing of movie theaters forced Disney to adopt a streaming-centric strategy. Disney is now expecting to snag far more subscribers: The company raised its outlook for Disney+ subscribers to a range of 230 million to 260 million by 2024 during Thursday’s Investor Day event. Including Hulu and ESPN+, the company is aiming to reach between 300 million and 350 million subscribers.

Disney is also raising prices to reflect increased content spending. Disney+ U.S. pricing will rise to $7.99 per month in March 2021, up from $6.99 per month currently. The company now expects to shell out between $8 billion and $9 billion on content for Disney+ in 2024, up from a previous outlook of around $4 billion. Across its entire direct-to-consumer business, Disney foresees 2024 content expense between $14 billion and $16 billion.

One major advantage enjoyed by streaming leader Netflix is the willingness and ability to spend obscene amounts of money each year on content. Disney is planning to join that club as its ramps up its streaming business over the next four years.

Shares of Disney were up 12.5% Friday morning as investors celebrated the company’s vastly higher subscriber outlook. Disney stock is now up about 20% since the start of the year.

Apple working on in-house cellular modem

Bloomberg reported late Thursday that tech giant Apple had begun work on a cellular modem for future devices. The news came from Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji, during a town hall meeting with Apple employees, according to Bloomberg’s sources.

Apple has long designed its own processors for its iPhone and iPad devices, and it recently debuted the first Mac computers powered by in-house silicon. The company also designs other chips for its devices, including camera processors and artificial intelligence accelerators. The move to also design its own modems will further decrease Apple’s reliance on third-party chip companies.

“Long-term strategic investments like these are a critical part of enabling our products and making sure we have a rich pipeline of innovative technologies for our future,” Srouji reportedly said of the modem project during the town hall meeting.

While the timeline for Apple using its own modem chips is unclear, it will be a significant loss for Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM). Qualcomm provides the 5G modems for the iPhone 12 family, which launched earlier this year. Shares of Qualcomm were down about 5.6% Friday morning in reaction to the news.

The move from Apple to design its own modem should be no surprise: The company paid $1 billion for most of Intel‘s modem business last year. Intel retained the right to develop modems for nonsmartphone applications as part of the deal.

Shares of Apple were down 1.5% Friday morning despite the modem news. The stock is still up about 65% so far this year.