The report isn’t terrible; shares are fairly flat in after-market trading. Still, Disney’s results will raise questions about growth prospects for film and ABC. The company reported net income of $1.85B for fiscal Q3, nearly flat with last year, on revenues of $11.58B, +4.4%. The top line fell short of analyst expectations for $11.64B. Earnings at $1.03 a share were ahead of the $1.01 analysts expected. The Studio Entertainment unit stands out with operating income falling 36% to $201M on $1.59B in revenues, -2%. Disney says that it had to shoulder pre-release marketing expenses for The Lone Ranger, and despite the success of Marvel’s Iron Man 3, it didn’t do as well as last year’s The Avengers. Results were stronger in the main Media Networks operation, with operating income +8% to $2.3B on revenues of $5.35B, +5%. All of the growth was from cable, where operating income was +12% to $2.09B on revenues of $3.88B, +8%. ESPN did its part with higher affiliate fees, and higher ad sales as the network raised prices and added inventory. The ABC broadcasting business saw income fall 21% to $213M with revenues flat at $1.47B. Disney says that programming costs were up as ABC shifted hours to acquired programming instead of self-produced shows. Ad sales fell as ratings declined. Parks and Resorts more than held their own with a 9% increase in operating income to $689M on revenues of $3.68B, +7%. Attendance and prices both were up. CEO Bob Iger says he”confident that our strategy of creating high-quality branded content positions us well for the future.”
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