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Disney Profits Fall Before Streaming Service Launch

The Walt Disney Co. reported lower fiscal fourth-quarter profits as it geared up to launch its Disney+ streaming service next week.

Net income fell to $1.054 billion, or 58 cents a share, from $2.322 billion, or $1.55 a year ago.

Earnings per share from continuing operations decreased 72% to 43 cents.

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Revenue rose 34% to $19.1 billion, reflecting the acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

The revenue and earnings figures were better than Wall Street expected ahead of the launch of Disney +.

“Our solid results in the fourth quarter reflect the ongoing strength of our brands and businesses,” said CEO Bob Iger. “We’ve spent the last few years completely transforming The Walt Disney Company to focus the resources and immense creativity across the entire company on delivering an extraordinary direct-to-consumer experience, and we’re excited for the launch of Disney+ on November 12.”

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Operating income at Disney’s Media Network segment fell 3% to $1.78 billion. Media Network revenue rose 22% to $6.51 billion

Cable network operating income fell 1% to $1.3 billion as revenue increased 20% to $4.2 billion. Operating income was down at ESPN because of higher programming, production and marketing costs.

Broadcasting revenue were up 26% to $2.3 billion while operating income decreased 4% to $377 million. Advertising revenue and ABC Studio program sales were down.

Losses at Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment increased to $740 million from $340 million a year ago. The results include losses at Hulu and investment in ESPN+.

Direct-to-Consumer & International revenue rose to $3.43 billion from $825 million.

Disney’s movie business was strong with Studio Entertainment operating income up 79% to $1.08 billion. Revenue rose 52% to $3.31 billion.