Disney's profit rises on parks, 'Oz' movie

Tue May 7, 2013 7:40pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Media giant Walt Disney Co reported a 32 percent increase in profit that beat Wall Street expectations, boosted by higher spending and attendance at U.S. theme parks, and the movie box office success of "Oz the Great and Powerful."

Revenue for the company that operates cable networks, theme parks and a movie studio increased 10 percent to $10.6 billion. At the parks division, revenue gained 14 percent and operating income climbed 73 percent as resorts in Florida and California attracted more visitors and guests spent more.

CEO Bob Iger said Disney parks drew more visitors thanks to investments in new attractions such as Cars Land at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and the expansion of Fantasyland at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

"The product that we recently put online really worked, like California Adventure and Fantasyland, and the product we had online for years and years in many respects looked better to consumers," Iger told analysts on a conference call.

Profit rose 8 percent at the media networks unit, the company's largest division, helped by higher advertising and fees from cable operators at sports network ESPN.

Those strong performances helped offset a poor showing by the broadcasting division.

Operating income declined by 40 percent at the broadcasting unit, as the ABC television network brought in less advertising revenue amid a ratings slump and higher programming costs. Iger said he wanted a stronger primetime lineup at the channel, with more shows produced by ABC rather than other studios.

"We could use a few more hits, and certainly a few more hits that we own," he said.   Continued...

The crowd watches the premiere of the new Disney Dreams show as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of Disneyland Resort in Marne-la-Vallee, outside Paris March 31, 2012. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier