Cable networks, ESPN in particular, had a growth quarter for The Walt Disney Company, but television revenues were down, although operating income was up. In all, revenues were up 7% for Disney and earnings per share gained 15%.
“Our third quarter demonstrates the continued strength of our Media Networks, including ESPN, Parks and Resorts and Consumer Products,” said CEO Bob Iger. “In these turbulent times, our company and its array of strong brands are well-positioned to deliver long-term shareholder value.”
Media Networks revenues were up 5% in fiscal Q3 (April-June) to $4.95 billion and segment operating income rose 11% to $2.09 billion.
Within that, Cable Networks revenues gained 7% to $3.52 billion and operating income was up 10% to $1.85. Growth at ESPN and the worldwide Disney Channels were given much of the credit. The cable figures include results for ESPN Radio and Radio Disney, but they are not broken out.
Broadcasting (ABC Network and O&O stations) saw revenues slip 1% to $1.43 billion, while operating income improved 20% to $250 million. The company credited lower programming and production costs and higher advertising revenue at the ABC Television Network. “These increases were partially offset by a decrease in the cost charged to ESPN for programming aired on the ABC Television Network and lower advertising revenue at the owned television stations. Decreased programming and production costs reflected a lower cost mix of programming in primetime due to a shift in hours from original scripted programming to reality programming and the benefit of cost saving initiatives at news and daytime. Higher advertising revenues at the ABC Television Network reflected higher rates, partially offset by lower ratings, while decreased advertising revenue at the owned television stations was due to lower political advertising,” said the Disney statement.
Parks & Resorts reported revenues up 12% and the gain was 13% for Consumer Products. Only the Studio Entertainment (movies) reported a revenue decline, and only by 1%.
Total revenues for Q3 rose 7% to $10.68 billion and combined segment operating income grew 8% to $2.73 billion.