Disney Reports Record Third-Quarter Earnings

The Walt Disney Co. reported record earnings for the third quarter, with its TV networks contributing positive results.

Net income rose 11% to $2.5 billion, or $1.45 a share, from $2.2 billion, or $1.28 a share.

Revenues rose 5% to $13.1 billion.

The earnings exceeded Wall Street forecasts, while revenues were a hair less than expected.

Operating income was up 4% to $2.4 billion at the company's media networks. Revenue was up 5% to $5.8 billion.

But at ESPN, ad revenue was down because of comparisons to the ratings and ad rates generated by the World Cup a year ago. The number of subscribers was down at some ESPN networks, but the decline was offset by increases at ESPN’s SEC Network.

ESPN has reportedly begun cutting costs in reaction to falling subscriber totals and a tough ad market.

Operating income for broadcast—including ABC—decreased 15% to $300 million. Programming costs were up and advertising revenue was down.

Disney’s studio unit reported a 15% increase in operating income and its consumer products division was up 27%. Parks and resorts rose 9%.

"We're very pleased with our performance in the third quarter, with record net income and diluted earnings per share of $1.45, up 13% from the prior year," said CEO Bob Iger. "The strong results across our many diverse lines of business demonstrate the power of our unparalleled brands, franchises and creative content."

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.