Diversified media and entertainment conglomerate Walt Disney Co. (DIS: Quote) said Tuesday after the markets closed that its third quarter profit rose 24% from last year, helped by continuing strong results at its media networks and theme parks businesses and the huge box office success of superhero movie "The Avengers."
The company's quarterly earnings per share also came in above analysts' expectations, but its quarterly revenue fell short of analysts' forecast.
"We had a phenomenal third quarter, delivering the largest quarterly earnings in the history of our company," said Robert Iger, Walt Disney Chairman and CEO. "Earnings per share were up 31% over last year, driven by growth in every one of our businesses."
Disney shares are currently losing 1.63% in after hours trading after closing the day's regular trading session at $49.81, up 16 cents. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $28.19 to $50.54.
In the last few quarters, Disney has benefited immensely from its media networks and theme parks businesses. However, a smart turnaround in the company's movie business, thanks to the success of Marvel's "The Avengers", helped Disney post record quarterly earnings.
Third quarter revenue from the company's media networks segment, which includes cable network ESPN and broadcaster ABC, grew 3% year-over year to $5.08 billion, while the segment's operating income for the quarter increased 2% to $2.13 billion.
Operating income at Cable Networks grew 1% to $1.9 billion in the third quarter due to growth at at the domestic Disney Channels and ABC Family, partially offset by a decrease at ESPN. The company attributed the decrease at ESPN to lower recognition of deferred affiliate fees related to annual programming commitments.
Operating income at Broadcasting increased 7% to $229 million, due to higher affiliate and royalty revenue and lower programming and production costs.
Revenue from parks and resorts rose 9% to $3.44 billion in the third quarter, while segment's operating income surged 21% to $630 million, driven by growths at at Tokyo Disney Resort, Disney Cruise Line and the company's domestic parks and resorts.
The star performer of the quarter was the company's movie business. Although revenue from the company's studio entertainment division remained essentially flat with last year, the division's operating income jumped more than six folds to $313 million, mainly due to strong worldwide theatrical results and worldwide television distribution.
Higher worldwide theatrical results reflected the performance of the current quarter releases including Marvel's "The Avengers" and "Brave". "The Avengers," released in the U.S. on May 4, has so far grossed about $1.46 billion in worldwide ticket sales.
Consumer Products revenues for the quarter increased 8% to $742 million and the segment's operating income rose 35% to $209 million.
Interactive Media revenues for the quarter fell 22% to $196 million, but the division's operating loss narrowed to $42 million from $86 million last year.
For the third quarter ended June 30, 2012, the Burbank, California-based company reported net income of $1.83 billion or $1.01 per share, compared to $1.48 billion or $0.77 per share for the year-ago quarter.
The latest quarter results include restructuring and impairment charges totaling $7 million, which had no net impact on earnings per share, while the year-ago quarter included restructuring and impairment charges totaling $34 million, which had a negative impact of $0.01 on earnings per share.
On average, 27 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $0.93 per share for the third quarter.
Segment operating income for the quarter grew 18% to $3.24 billion from $2.73 billion a year earlier.
Revenue for the third quarter rose 4% to $11.09 billion from $10.68 billion in the same quarter last year. Twenty-five analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $11.30 billion for the third quarter.
Among others in the industry, Viacom Inc. (VIAB, VIA) last week reported a 7% decline in third quarter profit, reflecting lower advertising revenue and a decline in filmed entertainment titles. Both adjusted earnings and revenue for the quarter missed analysts' estimates.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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