Boosted by continued Frozen DVD and merchandise sales, net income rose 19 per cent to $2.2 billion in the quarter, with revenues up 9 per cent to $13.4 billion, both better than forecast.
Operating income at the company’s cable networks division, which is dominated by ESPN but also includes properties like the Disney Channel, declined 2 percent, to $1.26 billion. The decline is likely to feed investor concern about higher sports programming costs. It was the third quarter in a row that more expensive contracts – this time with the NFL – hampered ESPN’s financial results. ESPN also saw higher administrative costs in the quarter and lower ad revenue.
Sales in its studio entertainment division also fell – down 2 per cent. Disney said the fall reflected the weaker performance of its Big Hero 6 film compared to Frozen‘s strong performance in the same quarter a year ago.