Quarterly Earnings: Disney Has a Happy Q2

The Disney Co. announced second quarter net income of $1.1 billion, or 58 cents a share, compared to earnings of $919 million, or 44 cents a share for the second quarter last year. Segment operating income rose by 22% to $2.1 billion. That’s on revenues of $8.71 billion, up 10%.

On the television end, Disney’s cable growth for the second quarter ended March 29 was driven by ESPN, because of contractual rate hikes charged to cable operators and higher advertising rates. Altogether the cable division operating income was up 14% to $1.1 billion.

In broadcasting, the operating income was $223 million, up 17%, though revenue was actually down 2% to $1.5 billion. Disney says strong international sales of Grey’s Anatomy and Lost helped the division. And while the writers’ strike limited scripted programming, which hurt ABC network revenues, the impasse also resulted in lower programming costs.

Altogether Disney’s media networks revenues rose only 5% to $3.61 billion, but operating income rose 14% to $1.3 billion.

The results were helped by stronger than anticipated theme park attendance (because Easter came earlier; in 2007, it was in Disney’s third quarter) and studio entertainment—including the films Enchanted,Game Plan and No Country for Old Men—which increased operating income to $377 million, up 61%.