Los Angeles Business Journal

Disney’s Profit Jumps on Theme Park, Pay TV Growth

By Deborah Crowe Originally published November 10, 2011 at 3:01 p.m., updated November 11, 2011 at 1:44 p.m.

Walt Disney Co’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 30 percent, boosted higher spending by visitors at its theme parks and revenue growth at its ESPN and Disney Channel pay TV operations.

After the Thursday markets closed, the Burbank entertainment giant reported net income of $1.09 billion (58 cents per share), compared with $835 million (43 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 7 percent to $10.4 billion.

Excluding one-time costs, per share profit was 59 cents. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected the company to report adjusted per-share profit of 54 cents on revenue of less than $10.4 billion.

Disney’s pay TV segment revenue rose 11 percent to $3.47 billion, boosted by overseas expansion of the Disney Channel. ESPN revenue benefited both from higher ad revenue and higher fees paid by distributors. Revenue for Disney's ABC broadcast division was up 4 percent to $1.33 billion.

Theme parks revenue rose 11 percent to $3.13 billion, driven by higher ticket prices and hotel rates, plus more food and merchandise sales.

“Fiscal 2011 was a great year financially and strategically, demonstrating the strength of our brands and businesses with record revenue, net income and earnings per share,” said Chief Executive Robert Iger in a statement.

Shares on Friday closed up $2.06, or nearly 6 percent, to $36.70 on the New York Stock Exchange.