The recovering economy drove attendance gains at Disney theme parks and advertising growth at cable networks led by ESPN. Anthony DiClemente, an analyst at Barclays Capital in New York, predicted 3 percent higher attendance at parks in Orlando, Florida. Analysts on average projected sales of $10.5 billion. Income from Disney’s studio and consumer products also rose.
“The earnings beat was broad-based and resolute as operating income surpassed estimates in all segments, most notably at the cable networks,” Michael Nathanson, an analyst at Nomura Securities International Inc., said today in a note to investors. He recommends investors buy the stock
First-quarter net income rose to $1.3 billion, or 68 cents a share, from $844 million, or 44 cents, a year earlier, Disney said yesterday in a statement. Profit beat the 56-cent average of 23 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 10 percent to $10.7 billion, also topping estimates.
Theme-park income increased 25 percent to $468 million as revenue expanded 8 percent to $2.87 billion. Attendance at domestic parks rose 2 percent from a year earlier, while per- capita guest spending increased 8 percent, Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said yesterday on a call.
Bookings for this quarter are running 3 percent ahead of a year earlier, Rasulo said.
Earnings at Disney’s TV operations gained 47 percent to $1.07 billion, boosted by gains at ESPN, which aired two newly acquired college bowl games in the quarter.
Disney’s cable revenue gained 16 percent to $3.07 billion, led by higher fees and advertising sales at ESPN and the Disney Channel. Profit increased 42 percent to $771 million.
The company’s ABC broadcast unit boosted revenue 4 percent to $1.58 billion as Disney’s local TV stations increased advertising sales. Profit increased 64 percent to $295 million after ESPN took over the Rose Bowl telecast and ABC reduced its news and daytime production cost.
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