Los Angeles Business Journal

ESPN, Theme Parks Offset Disney’s Box-Office Weakness

By Deborah Crowe Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday said that profit rose slightly in the fiscal third-quarter, as higher revenue at its theme parks and its ESPN networks offset losses at its film studio unit.

After the markets closed, the Burbank entertainment giant reported net income of $1.85 billion ($1.01 a share) for the quarter ended June 29. That was 1 percent higher on a total basis compared with the same period a year earlier, but was unchanged on a per-share basis because of a larger number of shares outstanding. Revenue rose 4 to nearly $11.6 billion.

Adjusted earnings were $1.03. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average had expected $1.01 a share adjusted profit on revenue of more than $11.6 billion.

The results included about 2 cents a share in restructuring and impairment costs. "The Lone Ranger," considered a box office bomb when it debuted early last month, incurred some pre-release marketing costs during the quarter that contributed to a 36 percent decline in operating income at the studio division. Revenue in that unit fell 2 percent to $1.6 billion

Revenue at Disney's largest business segment, media networks, rose 5 percent to $5.4 billion with operating income up 8 percent. Revenue from ESPN and ad growth were the main drivers. Parks and resorts revenue was up 7 percent to $3.7 billion, contributing to a 9 percent increase in operating income as guest paid more for tickets and spent more at the parks.

Consumer products revenue increased 4 percent to $775 million, boosted by Monsters University products and the inclusion of Lucasfilm licensing revenue. That contributed to a 5 percent gain in operating income.

Shares earlier closed up $1.03, or 1.6 percent, to $67.05 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares fell 1.5 percent in after-hours trading.