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ABC Revs Lag Ratings Surge

ABC’s surge in the ratings isn’t translating into sales at the company’s broadcast network, which saw revenues drop during the most recent quarter.

For the three months ended September, which is Disney’s fiscal fourth quarter, the broadcast unit’s revenues dropped 6% to $1.2 billion.

Disney doesn’t separate the results of the ABC network from its owned-and-operated stations, but broadcast typically accounts for around 50% of the broadcast division's revenues.

Disney did say that the stations’ sales increased 6% during the quarter, so that means the network’s sales could have dropped more than 10%.

Part of the problem is that the results only cover one month of the nets new hits, like Lost and Desparate Housewives and two others. ABC won’t see a dramatic sales jump until January because so many commercials were pre-sold in the upfront market.

Disney President Bob Iger expained that “the upfront obviously did not anticipate  the success that they had, particularly with these four new hits.  And so they were relatively modest not only in the rates  that they charged but the number of new units that they sold in those programs.”