LOS ANGELES – Strong results from its cable channels and ABC Television network drove higher revenue and profits at The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) in the fourth quarter, overcoming a steep drop in profits at its film studio.
The media conglomerate reported net income of $516 million, or 25 cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to income of $415 million, or 20 cents per share in the same quarter last year.
The results easily beat expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call, who had been looking for earnings of 18 cents per share.
Revenue increased to $7.54 billion, compared to $7.01 billion in the same period last year.
Fourth quarter profits were helped by the one-time resolution of tax matters, which added 6 cents per share to earnings, compared to 3 cents per share for similar tax matters in the same quarter last year, the company said.
Results were led by advertising and subscription gains at Disney's Media Networks division, which includes ABC as well as cable channels ESPN, the Disney Channel (search) and the ABC Family Channel.
Operating income also rose at its Parks and Resorts division, despite its Walt Disney World (search) park having closed for several days in the quarter due to hurricanes.
Operating income fell 89 percent in the quarter at its studio on the failure of several films, including "Mr. 3000." Last year during the quarter, the studio was enjoying the success of "Pirates of the Caribbean (search)" and "Finding Nemo (search)."
For the full year, Disney reported earnings of $2.345 billion, or $1.12 per share, compared to $1.267 billion, or 62 cents per share last year.
Full year earnings per share rose 80 percent. Disney had been promising investors an increase of more than 50 percent for the year as well as double-digit growth through 2007.
Shares of Disney fell 19 cents to close at $26.37 in regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange. In after-hours trading, the shares rose 46 cents.