Disney’s media networks division, ABC, ESPN and the Disney channel, registered a 7.7% gain in profit to $1.86 billion as revenue increased 5.6% to $4.96 billion. ABC’s profit fell 40% while earnings from cable networks grew 15%.
In consumer products, profit rose 35% to $200 million on sales of Disney and Marvel branded merchandise that boosted divisional revenue 12% to $763 million.
Disney’s resorts in Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California, set attendance records in the quarter, Iger said yesterday on a conference call, benefiting from improvements at Fantasyland in Walt Disney World and at California Adventure. Attendance at the parks rose 8% in the quarter, while spending increased 10%.
“I don’t think there’s any other way to describe the results at parks and resorts than it was a tremendous quarter,” Iger said.
The parks should show more improvement in fiscal 2014 as Disney rolls out a new system to let tourists book rides and other attractions in advance, Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said. That will let guests spend more time at Disney properties, and less at competitors’, Rasulo said.
“We get more time with them, we get a bigger share of their wallet,” Rasulo said.
The company’s ESPN unit also prospered in the quarter, Rasulo said on the call, with advertising up 4% and on pace to rise 10% in the current quarter.
“There’s probably more certainty as it relates to ESPN than almost any other business we’re in,” Iger said, citing long-term contracts with sports leagues and cable operators.
The decision to delay introduction of Disney’s Infinity video-game system to August from June will mean less revenue this year for the company’s interactive division and less chance of a profit for the year, a goal Iger previously set.