Walt Disney Earnings Top Estimates on Blockbusters and Ad Revenue


Walt Disney (DIS) reported better than expected earnings Tuesday due to an increase in advertising revenue at its media networks and better ticket sales for its studio hits Iron Man 2 and Toy Story 3.

Disney reported earnings of 67 cents a share on revenues of $10 billion. Wall Street analysts had been expecting Disney to post third-quarter earnings of 58 cents per share. Last year, Disney turned in third-quarter earnings of 51 cents per share on $8.6 billion in revenues.

The company has beat analyst estimates over the past five quarters.

"We're very pleased with our strong third quarter, in which we grew revenues substantially and improved profitability across the majority of our businesses," said President and Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Iger in an earnings statement.

Disney's empire includes theme parks, resorts, cruise lines, media networks including ABC, ESPN and motion pictures.

Revenue from its cable networks were up 28% and broadcasting was up 4%. The cable network increase was attributed to previously deferred revenues related to annual programming commitments.

Studio Entertainment revenues for the quarter increased 30% to $1.6 billion.

This year the company's film division released Iron Man 2, which grossed $334 million in global box office sales in its first two weeks. Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland also turned in good results. On the flip side, analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen & Co. said Disney had its share of "hits and misses" and is likely to write-down on Prince of Persia and Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Last week, Disney raised ticket prices at its theme parks as it moves away from discounting during the rough economy. Disney parks and resorts revenues for the quarter increased 3% to $2.8 billion and segment operating income decreased 8% to $477 million. Results for the quarter were weighed down by decreases at domestic parks and the Disney Cruise Line, but that was partially offset by improved results at the company's international operations.

Disney's per share price was up a half-percent to close at $35.30. It is trading slightly below its 52-week high of $37.98