The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) reported Tuesday afternoon that its fiscal second-quarter earnings jumped to $1.51 billion, or 83 cents a share, from $1.14 billion, or 63 cents a share, in the year-ago period, a rise of 32 percent.
Earnings per share for the quarter were 83 cents for the three months ending March 30 vs. 63 cents in the year-ago period. Its adjusted earnings per share of 79 cents — up 36 percent from 58 cents a year earlier, excluding special items — beat Wall Street expectations.
Revenue grew to $10.55 billion from $9.63 billion last year. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected fiscal second-quarter earnings of 77 cents a share on revenue of $10.49 billion.
Disney shares closed Tuesday at $66.07, then rose to $66.45 in after-market trading, but later fell to $65.10.
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“With adjusted earnings per share up 36 percent over last year, we're obviously pleased with our second quarter,” Chairman and CEO Robert Iger said in a statement reported by the Los Angeles Times. “Our results reflect our successful strategy, the strength of our brands and the value of our high-quality creative content, all of which continue to drive long-term growth and shareholder value.”
Disney's Media Networks Group, which includes ABC and ESPN, posted an operating income of $1.86 billion, up 8 percent. Revenue rose 6 percent to $4.96 billion. Although the broadcast division saw operating income fall 40 percent to $138 million -- due in part to higher prime-time programming costs -- the operating income of the company's cable networks was up 15 percent to $1.72 billion. Disney partly attributed the gain in the cable business to increased affiliate revenue for ESPN.
The company's movie studio had a strong quarter, posting operating income of $118 million. The studio said it performed well in part due to the release of "Oz The Great and Powerful," which has grossed $228.9 million domestically and $256.2 million abroad. A year earlier, the film studio posted an operating loss of $84 million -- the result of a $200 million write-down on the sci-fi movie "John Carter." That film had a global gross of $282.8 million, but was estimated to have a production budget of $250 million.
Disney's parks and resorts posted operating income of $383 million -- a gain of 73 percent from a year earlier. Disney said the strong performance was largely due to an increase in business at its domestic properties.
Disney's interactive division posted an operating loss of $54 million, a slight improvement from the same quarter a year earlier, when it lost $70 million. Revenue was up 8 percent to $194 million.