SBD/May 9, 2012/Finance

Disney Reports Strong Quarterly Earnings; Iger Underscores Health Of ESPN

Walt Disney Co. reported “strong quarterly earnings, helped by robust television and theme park income,” according to Dawn Chmielewski of the L.A. TIMES. Disney posted quarterly net income of $1.14B, up 21%. Revenue rose 6% to $9.6B for the second quarter ended March 31 compared with the same quarter last year. Disney's Media Networks television group “remains the company's cash cow," reporting operating income of $1.7B for the quarter, up 13% from a year earlier. Results were fueled by the “continued strength of two of its cable television brands, ESPN and Disney Channel.” ESPN “continues to expand its distribution on new platforms and now reaches 40 million subscribers on mobile devices” (L.A. TIMES, 5/9). Disney Chair & CEO Bob Iger in a conference call yesterday “sought to underscore the health of ESPN, which is by far the largest contributor to Disney’s overall profitability.” In N.Y., Brooks Barnes noted some analysts “have been fretful about escalating programming costs at ESPN and its continued ability to grow by raising subscriber fees higher and higher.” Iger said ESPN was “quite well positioned to remain the pre-eminent sports brand” (NYTIMES.com, 5/8).
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