Disney's Media Nets Gain Tiny Rev Uptick, Led By ESPN

Walt Disney Co. is witnessing some improving TV advertising sales -- but not big gains.

Speaking to CNBC on Thursday, Bob Iger, chairman/chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Co., said while that pricing at ABC and ESPN was higher than upfront pricing set in June/July, and “it’s not a fantastic marketplace, there has been steady improvement over the year.” Iger notes that recently ESPN has been “seeing more strength.”

For its fiscal fourth-quarter reporting period ending September 28th, Disney’s Media Networks division inched up 1% to $4.95 billion in revenue.

The bigger piece of this -- its cable networks -- gained 1% in revenue to $3.57 billion, with ESPN contributing to higher advertising revenue. At the same time, higher programming costs at ESPN resulted from college football rights, rate increases at NFL, Major League Baseball, and more original programming at domestic Disney channels.

Cable network operating income sank 7% to $1.28 billion due to deferred ESPN affiliate fee revenues.

Broadcasting business, Disney’s ABC network and TV stations gained 2% to $1.37 billion, with operating income down 18% to $158 million. The company said it had unfavorable comparisons to syndication sales of “Castle” and “Wipeout” in the year-ago third-quarter period.

Disney says the growth in advertising revenue was the result of higher units sold, with higher pricing, at the ABC Television Network -- as well as gains in online advertising.
In addition, Disney said some expenses were higher: “Higher prime-time programming costs were driven by an increase in the average cost per hour due to a shift of hours from lower-cost reality and prime-time news to higher cost original scripted programming.”

Disney’s Parks and Resorts had 8% higher revenues to $3.7 billion. Vacation club sales had higher royalty revenue from Tokyo Disney Resort, but a decline in business at Disneyland Paris.

Disney’s Studio Entertainment unit saw revenues climb 7% higher to $1.5 billion. Higher theatrical revenues resulted from “Monsters University,” which was better than “Brave.” Disney had much lower results from “The Lone Ranger.” Home-entertainment revenues declined due to results from “Iron Man 3” versus Marvel's “The Avengers” a year ago.

On Thursday, Walt Disney also announced a deal to start up four original TV series based on Marvel’s characters to run on Netflix.

Overall, Disney witnessed a 7% hike to $11.57 billion in revenues, with net income up 12% to $1.4 billion



Next story loading loading..