Disney Q4 boosted by pay-TV

Chief Execuive Bob Iger (with Mickey Mouse)

Disney has reported that its fourth-quarter net income rose 30 per cent, thanks to higher spending by theme park visitors and growth at pay TV operations ESPN and Disney Channel.

Advertising revenue was up, but like other media companies, Disney maintained a cautious outlook. The price for TV ads booked at the last minute “has slowed slightly these last few weeks,” Chief Executive Bob Iger told analysts.

Net income in the July to September period rose to $1.09 billion. A year ago, Disney posted net income of $835 million for the same period. Revenue rose 7 per cent to $10.43 billion.

Disney’s movie studio profits grew, helped by the theatrical re-release of “The Lion King” in 3D. The growth occurred in spite of lower revenue in home entertainment. Consumer products sales and profits grew and the company trimmed losses at its interactive unit.

Its pay TV segment revenue grew 11 per cent to $3.47 billion, lifted by the spread of the Disney Channel overseas. ESPN was buoyed by 8 per cent higher fees paid by distributors and 7 per cent higher ad revenue, when excluding the impact of the FIFA World Cup, which boosted viewership a year ago. The ad growth is slower than the 9 per cent gain in the previous quarter and the 23 per cent growth in the quarter before that.

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