Disney works its magic on revenues

Walt Disney’S quarterly revenue beat analysts’ expectations, helped by increased spending by visitors at its theme parks and higher ad sales and affiliate fees in the company’s media networks business.

Revenue at theme parks rose 6 per cent to $3.76bn, pushing up the unit’s operating income 24 per cent, as ticket prices and hotel room rates increased and visitors spent more on food, drinks and merchandise.

Total revenue rose 7 per cent to $12.46bn in the second quarter ended March 28. Walt Disney’s media networks business, which includes sports powerhouse ESPN, the Disney channels and ABC, reported a 13 per cent rise in revenue to $5.81bn. Higher programming and production costs at ESPN, however, pushed operating income down 2 per cent.

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The company’s movie studio produced the animated super-hero hit Big Hero 6, but couldn’t keep pace with the year-ago quarter, which benefited from box-office phenomenon Frozen.

Revenue at the studio dropped 6 per cent to $1.69bn. The studio is expected to benefit from its newest blockbuster, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, in the current quarter. The sequel opened with $191.2m in ticket sales in the United States and Canada – the second-biggest of all time.

Walt Disney’s consumer products division, which contributed about 8 per cent to total revenue, reported a 10 per cent rise in sales.