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Disney Boosts Stock Dividend by 50%

The Walt Disney Co. joined the ranks of media companies returning cash to its shareholders by announcing that it was increasing its annual cash dividend by 50% to 60 cents a share.

Viacom, CBS, News Corp. and Scripps Networks Interactive are among the media companies that have either raised their dividends or begun extensive share buybacks this year as a way to make their stock more attractive to investors at a time when profits are high, but the economic outlook is difficult.

"The Walt Disney Company had a great creative, strategic and financial year in fiscal 2011 with record revenue, net income and earnings per share," Bob Iger, Disney president and CEO, said in a statement. "We are pleased to be able to raise our shareholder dividend by 50 percent while continuing to invest for future growth."

The dividend is payable on January 18, 2012 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 16, 2011. The January dividend payment represents the 56th consecutive year of dividend payments to shareholders.

Disney also announced that it scheduled its annual shareholders' meeting for March 13, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo.