The rising popularity of Walt Disney's theme parks and earnings from its television channels has resulted in a 12 percent increase in the company's first-quarter net income compared with a year earlier.

The revenue for the quarter ending Dec. 31 was $10.8 billion, up 1 percent from a year earlier. Net income rose to nearly $1.5 billion for the period, up from $1.3 billion a year earlier. Earnings per share rose 18 percent, to 80 cents from 68 cents in the prior year's first quarter.

Our results reflect the benefits of our ongoing strategy to invest in and leverage our core brands — Disney, Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC, said Disney President and Chief Executive Bob Iger. Disney's television businesses performed well, the company said, with cable and satellite distributors paying more to carry ESPN sports programming. There's real demand there so I'd say the advertising marketplace is healthy,'' Iger added.

Meanwhile, revenue in Disney's film division fell because the studio released fewer films than it had in previous years to avoid failures. Disney's studio division had a surprise hit with modestly budgeted film 'The Muppets'. The studio’s revenue fell 16 percent in the quarter to $1.6 billion.