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Disney Q1 lifted by TV networks

Walt Disney’s quarterly revenue was significantly lifted by the company’s TV networks business, as well as increased spending at its theme parks.

Results for the quarter were also boosted by a continued surge in sales of toys and merchandise related to animated film Frozen.

While the studio business failed to produce a hit as big as Frozen, the movie The Avengers: Age of Ultron is expected to boost revenue in the current quarter. The sequel opened last weekend with $191.2 million in ticket sales in the US and Canada — the second-biggest opening of all time.

“As much as the quarter itself was strong the outlook for the next few quarters, with so many big franchise properties coming to market, looks to be just as good,” Macquarie Research analyst Timothy Nollen told Reuters.

Revenue at theme parks rose 6 per cent to $3.76 billion. Total revenue rose 7 per cent to $12.46 billion in the second quarter ended March 28th.

Disney’s media networks business, which includes ESPN, the Disney channels and ABC, reported a 13 per cent rise in revenue to $5.81 billion, helped by higher ad sales and affiliate fees.

Higher programming and production costs at ESPN, however, pushed the unit’s operating income down 2 per cent.

Revenue at the studio business dropped 6 per cent to $1.69 billion, while sales at the consumer products division rose 10 per cent.

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