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Sunday, Sep 24, 2023

A Rough Quarter for Disney

Walt Disney Co.’s fiscal fourth-quarter net income dropped 13 percent as the entertainment giant braces for what it expects will be a difficult year ahead for all of its businesses, particularly its amusement parks. The results fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Burbank-based Disney after Thursday’s market close reported net income of $760 million (40 cents a share), compared with $877 million (44 cents) a year ago. Revenues rose 6 percent to $9.45 billion.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were 43 cents a share, compared with 42 cents for the same period a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected adjusted earnings of 49 cents per share on revenue of $9.3 billion.

Chief Executive Bob Iger said in a conference call that Disney’s advertising revenue fell sharply at its local television stations and slowed at its ABC broadcast network, largely because of a dropoff in auto, financial-services and electronics advertising.

Bookings across all Disney parks — about 30 percent of overall revenue — have fallen off considerably, Iger said, although bookings for the holiday season are off only slightly. The company’s consumer-products division, including products based on the company’s iconic animated characters and trendy Disney Channel TV shows and movies, also are expected to take a big hit next year.

“We are more accessible and more affordable than in 1991 and 2001 (economic downturns), and I don’t think in any way can we really determine how the downturn we’re currently experiencing will affect us, except to tell you how it is affecting us today,” Iger said.

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