Disney has magical 1st quarter on TV shows, parks revenue
BURBANK, Calif. (AP) It was a magical first quarter for The Walt Disney Co., which posted profit and revenue that topped expectations. Strong results from Frozen merchandise, Disney Channels, and its U.S. theme parks and resorts drove profit up 19 percent in the last three months of 2014.
Shares rose over 3 percent in aftermarket trading.
Revenue from parks and resorts rose 9 percent to $3.9 billion, helped by higher attendance and customer spending at its California and Florida properties. That was in spite of a measles outbreak linked to Disney's Southern California parks last month that now totals about 95 people.
In an interview with CNBC, CEO Bob Iger said the entertainment company saw no impact on attendance from the measles outbreak. More people visited Disneyland and California Adventure parks, located in Anaheim, California, during the quarter than in the year-ago period, he said. Iger did caution parents with children under the age for inoculation about bringing them to any large public place like Disneyland, including mass transportation and movie theaters.
Sales of "Frozen" merchandise were the main driver behind a 22 percent jump in consumer products sales to $1.4 billion. Revenue from the company's media networks was another strong point, jumping 11 percent to $5.86 billion on strength from cable networks such as Disney Channels and ABC Family. Broadcasting revenue rose on sales of shows including "Criminal Minds" and "Scandal." ESPN revenue fell, hurt by higher rates to broadcast NFL games and lower ratings for certain programs.
Theatrically, Disney's "Big Hero 6" film couldn't match the performance of "Frozen" in the year-ago period, which had also included the release of Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World."
The Burbank, California-based company earned $2.24 billion, or $1.27 per share, topping the $1.08 per share average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.
Revenue rose 9 percent to $13.39 billion in the period, also exceeding Street forecasts of $12.85 billion, according to Zacks.
Shares rose $3, or 3.2 percent, to $97.10 during aftermarket trading after closing up 2.4 percent at $94.10 before the report. The stock has been trading near its all-time high of $96.43.
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on DIS at http://www.zacks.com/ap/DIS
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