ESPN, A+E Help Disney Profit Grow in Q4

The Walt Disney Co.’s profits grew in its fourth fiscal quarter as big gains by its cable networks offset a $9 million decline in broadcasting income.

Net income rose 14% to $1.24 billion, or 68 cents per share, from $1.89 billion, or 58 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenues rose 3% to $10.8 billion in the quarter.

For the full year, Disney’s net income rose 18% to $5.7 billion, or $3.13 a share, from $4.8 billion, or $2.52 a share.

Revenues increased 3% to $42.3 billion.

“Fiscal 2012 was a great year creatively, financially and strategically, resulting in record revenue, net income, and earnings per share,” CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “We’re confident the company is well positioned to continue our strong performance and growth.”

In the fourth quarter, Disney’s Media Networks group generated a 7% increase in operating income to $1.57 billion, as revenues grew 2% to $4.9 billion.

Operating income at Disney’s cable networks advanced 9% in the fourth quarter to $1.4 billion driven by growth at ESPN, higher equity income at A+E Networks and improvements at ABC Family, which had lower programming, marketing and sales costs. Revenues improved 2% to $3.5 billion in the quarter

Operating income for the broadcasting division in the fourth quarter fell 4% to $192 million. Advertising sales declined at the ABC Television Network because of lower ratings and there were bigger equity losses at Hulu. Those were partially offset by the program sales of Castle and Wipeout.

Broadcasting revenue edged up 1% to $1.34 billion in the quarter.