Network advertising sales rose 11 per cent, helped by the NBA playoffs on TNT and the college basketball tournament, the New York-based company said.
Meanwhile, The Lone Ranger hit Walt Disney’s growth in the last quarter and will force the entertainment conglomerate to take a write-down of up to $190 million in the current quarter. Disney said losses from the movie would total $160 million to $190 million, depending on how well it does overseas.
That loss offset growth from Disney’s cable television and theme park units, and Disney reported an overall profit of $1.85 billion — essentially flat from the same period a year ago.
Media Networks unit rose 8 per cent, to $2.3 billion. ESPN benefited from contractual rate increases from cable providers and higher advertising sales, although programming costs also climbed.
Operating income at the ABC broadcast network and a string of local television stations fell 21 per cent, to $213 million, because of higher prime-time programming costs, lower sales of reruns and a decline in advertising revenue tied to a decline in ratings.