February 6, 2013 - 09:58 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Walt Disney Co beat estimates in quarterly adjusted earnings on Tuesday, Feb 5, and said it expects the next few quarters to be better on a stronger lineup of films and growing attendance at its theme parks, Reuters reported.
Net income for its fiscal first quarter fell 6 percent to $1.38 billion.
"We're very pleased with our first-quarter results, which set the stage for continued growth in 2013, following a year of record revenue, net income and earnings per share in 2012," Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said during a call with analysts.
Disney, which bought the iconic "Star Wars" series with its$4.06 billion acquisition of director George Lucas' Lucasfilm of in October, also plans to produce movies based on Lucas properties other than "Star Wars", said Chairman and CEO Bob Iger.
Operating profit at Disney's Media Network's division, the largest of its five units, increased by 2 percent although earnings at its cable operations were lower due to higher costs for ESPN to carry college football and NFL.
Rasulo also said Disney was "exploring an exit" from its ESPN operation in the UK, adding that the sports channel "had experienced losses due to the ramp-up and newness of that business to us."
Earnings fell 5 percent at Disney's studios, which it attributed to a stronger slate a year earlier powered by Cars 2 - a film that had worldwide ticket sales of $559.8 million, according to the movie site Box Office Mojo.
Its interactive division swung to a profit of $9 million from a loss of $28 million in the prior quarter, although Iger and Rasulo said it would likely revert to a loss in the coming quarter because it has fewer new products to sell.
Ad Age reported that Disney has been commanding between $1.65 million and $1.85 million for a 30-second spot in this year's Oscar broadcast, citing media buyers and others familiar with the tone of the negotiations.
That's up from the $1.6 million to $1.7 million ABC secured for the 2012 Oscars telecast, Ad Age said.