Hit movies like Toy Story 3 and higher advertising sales lifted Walt Disney Co's
Investors had expected solid numbers from the entertainment and leisure conglomerate after strong results from media rivals Time Warner
Box office smashes like the latest Toy Story movie, Iron Man 2 and Alice in Wonderland helped studio revenue rise 30 percent and generated a strong operating profit.
Revenue at its media networks arm, home to sports cable network ESPN and broadcaster ABC, rose 19 percent to $4.7 billion. But the results included $344 million in previously deferred revenue because of annual programing commitments.
The cable division is the business that drives this business, and Disney had an impressive quarter, said RBC Capital analyst David Bank.
Operating income in media networks rose 43 percent to $1.9 billion, outpacing analysts' forecasts for about $1.4 billion.
The studio entertainment division chalked up a $123 million operating profit after posting a loss a year ago.
But at the theme parks arm -- operator of Disneyland resorts around the world -- operating income slid 8 percent to $477 million as attendance and hotel occupancy dropped. Disney ended widespread ticket discounts in the quarter.
This quarter, domestic hotel reservations were running about 9 percent below the prior-year quarter's pace, executives told analysts on a conference call.
Disney's fiscal third-quarter net income rose to $1.3 billion, or 67 cents per share, from $954 million, or 51 cents a share, a year earlier. That beat the average analyst forecast for 58 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Total revenue rose 16 percent to $10 billion, surpassing Wall Street's target of just under $9.4 billion.
Disney shares rose 1.4 percent to $35.80 after closing at $35.29. The stock has risen nearly 5 percent since the start of August as expectations of an advertising recovery solidified.
Last week, Time Warner
That forecast came a day after CBS Corp's
(Editing by Carol Bishopric, Robert MacMillan, Gary Hill)