ABC and 3D movies lift Disney

An advertising rebound at its ABC television network, as well as the strong box-office performance of Toy Story 3, has lifted Walt Disney’s full-year earnings. However, the media group missed expectations for the fourth quarter due to a timing shift in the recognition of revenues at its ESPN sports channel.

Net income for the 12 months to October rose from $3.6 billion to $4.3 billion, with revenues rising from $36.1 billion to $38.1 billion. But fourth-quarter net income slipped from $1.1 billion to $966 million on revenues that fell from $9.9 billion to $9.7 billion.

The fourth quarter suffered from being one week shorter than the comparable period last time, Disney said. The group also took a $58 million charge for its share in programming write-offs at the Lifetime cable channel.

Advertising on Disney’s television and cable channels rebounded thanks to a stronger showing from motoring, telecommunications and financial services advertisers. Adjusted for the impact of the extra week of operations in 2009, advertising revenues at ESPN were up 22 per cent in the final quarter,

Disney’s movie studio was a strong performer, driven by the success of 3D movies Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland. Operating income at the studio in the final quarter rose from $117 million to $106 million.

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