Los Angeles Business Journal

Strong Quarter at Disney

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Walt Disney Co. reported strong fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, the same day it announced a new deal to provide Marvel superhero series to Netflix Inc.

The Burbank entertainment and media conglomerate reported net income of $1.4 billion (77 cents a share) for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $1.2 billion (68 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue increased 7.2 percent to $11.6 billion.

Analyst estimated earnings of 76 cents on revenue of $11.4 billion, according to Thomson Financial Network.

The quarter showed positive results in all five of Disney’s operating units, with the Interactive division showing the highest growth to $396 million from $191 million in the previous year. The growth was attributed to the release of console game “Disney Infinity” during the quarter.

The Studio Entertainment division had 7 percent growth in revenue to $1.5 billion, attributed to strong box office for “Monsters University” and subscription video on demand services. However, that was offset by the $100 million-plus write-down on live action flub “The Lone Ranger.”

In the Netflix deal, Disney will provide four new live-action series featuring Marvel superhero characters.

The four, 13-episode series will begin streaming via Netflix in 2015 that will take viewers into the gritty world of Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. Marvel Television will produce the shows in association with ABC Television Studios.

Each series will focus on a different character, starting with “Daredevil,” followed by “Jessica Jones”, “Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage.” The four will then feature in a follow-up miniseries, “The Defenders.”

Alan Fine, president of Marvel Entertainment, is unparalleled in its scope and shows Marvel’s commitment to bringing its brand across all platforms of storytelling.

“This serialized epic expands the narrative possibilities of on-demand television ,” he said in a prepared statement.

This is the second such exclusive deal between Disney and Netflix, based in Los Gatos.

In December, the companies announced that starting in 2016, Netflix would exclusively stream live action and animated feature films from several Disney studios, including Pixar and Marvel.

Shares closed down $1.85, or nearly 3 percent, to $67.15 on the New York Stock Exchange.