Disney profit jumps thanks to movies, parks and products

Wednesday 06 August 2014 07.37
Walt Disney's quarterly profit beats Wall Street expectations
Walt Disney's quarterly profit beats Wall Street expectations

Media company Walt Disney's quarterly profit exceeded Wall Street expectations, with a strong performance from its "Captain America" movie, higher attendance at US theme parks and brisk sales of merchandise tied to mega-hit "Frozen". 

Net income rose to $2.2 billion in the quarter ended on June 28, up 22% from the same time last year, the company said last night. 

Diluted earnings per share reached a record $1.28, beating analysts' average forecast of $1.17 in a Thomson Reuters survey. Revenue rose to 8% $12.47 billion. 

Disney's chief executive Bob Iger said the company's earnings per share for the first three quarters of fiscal 2014 were greater than any previous full fiscal year. 

"Our strategy of building strong brands and franchises continues to create great value across our company," Iger said in a statement. 

Operating income at Disney's media networks division was flat at $2.3 billion and declined 7% for the unit's cable networks segment, due to a decrease at sports giant ESPN. 

ESPN fell due to higher programming and production costs for Major League Baseball and the FIFA World Cup, and the absence of ESPN UK, which had been sold, Disney said.

At its movie studio, operating income more than doubled to $411m, thanks to the success of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Maleficent" in cinemas and home entertainment sales for "Frozen." 

Its theme parks unit reported operating income of $848m, up 23% from last year and driven by the company's US operations. Both attendance and spending rose at domestic parks. 

The company is drawing up plans to add a "far greater 'Star Wars' presence" at its theme parks, Iger said, and hopes to announce details next year. He assured analysts the next "Star Wars" movie, "Episode VII," remains set for release in December 2015, despite an injury to star Harrison Ford. 

Operating income for consumer products rose 25% to $273m thanks to increases at Disney retail stores and in its licensing business for products related to "Frozen," the Disney Channel, "Spider-Man" and "Planes." 

Disney's interactive gaming unit reported its fourth consecutive quarterly profit with help from sales of its Disney Infinity toy-and-game combo. Operating income for the unit totaled $29m.