The Walt Disney Co. on Monday posted higher net income of $734 million in its first quarter 2006, reporting higher advertising revenue at its media networks, increased attendance at its theme parks and resorts and improved sales in its consumer products unit. The gains were offset by lower results in its studio entertainment unit.
Burbank-based Disney reported after the market closed and shares were up 67 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $25.96 in after-market trading. In regular trading, the stock closed at $24.96, down 5 cents.
Earnings per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31 increased 12 percent to 37 cents, compared with 33 cents a share, or $686 million net income, a year ago. Revenue increased 2 percent to $8.85 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call projected that Disney would earn 30 cents a share for the period, with sales of $8.79 billion.
"I am encouraged by the solid momentum in our earnings and the financial and creative strengths that underpin these results," Chief Executive Robert Iger said in a statement. "We continue to focus on our strategy of creating the finest content, embracing leading-edge technologies, and strengthening our global presence."
Broadcast operating income increased 87 percent to $234 million, primarily due to higher primetime advertising revenue at the ABC television network, which has seen ratings success from hits like "Desperate Housewives." Parks and resorts revenue for the quarter grew 13 percent to $2.4 billion, led by the success of the 50th anniversary celebration at Disneyland and related activities at its other properties.
Consumer products revenues rose 1 percent to $733 million, driven by growth at Buena Vista Games, which has saw success from titles based on "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" and "Chicken Little." But studio entertainment revenues for the quarter decreased 13 percent to $2 billion. The strong box office performances of "Chronicles of Narnia" and "Chicken Little" were offset by the disappointing performance of other titles.
Earnings for the quarter were boosted by the sale of a magazine business.
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