SBD/November 9, 2012/Finance

ESPN Helps Disney To Robust Q4 Growth, But Company Misses Expectations

Disney on Thursday “reported robust fourth-quarter growth,” while ESPN -- “as usual -- gave the entertainment conglomerate its biggest boost,” according to Brooks Barnes of the N.Y. TIMES. The operating income of Disney’s "cable television division, centered on ESPN and Disney Channel," climbed 9% to $1.38B. The growth was “powered by higher fees that cable providers paid for ESPN, as well as decreased marketing costs.” Disney CFO James Rasulo “took the unusual step of highlighting a number of difficulties in the coming quarter.” He said that ESPN will “most likely record a $170 million increase in programming costs tied to football and baseball” (N.Y. TIMES, 11/9). In N.Y., Paul Tharp notes that despite the growth, Disney “fell short of revenue expectations after weaker ad sales and lower film revenue weighed on results.” The London Olympics on NBC “diverted ratings and ad dollars from its flagship ABC network.” Ad sales also were “flat at ESPN as a result of the games” (N.Y. POST, 11/9). Shares of Disney were trading at $47.18 at presstime, down 5.72% from the close of business yesterday (THE DAILY).
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