The Walt Disney Company posted record earnings of $4.8 billion in 2011, up 21 percent from $3.96 billion in the year earlier period, mostly attributable to success in both the cable television and broadcasting division.

For the fourth quarter, the company posted $1.1 billion in earnings, up from $835 million in the year earlier. That translated to earnings of 58 cents a share, better than analysts' predictions of 54 cents a share.

The company reported total revenue of $10.42 billion in the fourth quarter, up from $9.72 billion in the year earlier period. Total revenue for the year totaled $40.89 billion, up from $38.06 billion last year.

Fiscal 2011 was a great year financially and strategically, demonstrating the strength of our brands and businesses with record revenue, net income and earnings per share, Disney CEO Robert Iger said in a statement. We are confident the Company is well-positioned to deliver long-term value for our shareholders with our focus on quality content, compelling uses of technology and global asset growth.

Operating income at Disney's cable networks increased to $191 million to $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter, which the company attributed to increasing affiliate revenue and higher advertising rates. At the broadcasting division, the company's operating income increased $54 million to $201 million from the year earlier quarter due to lower productions costs and, like the cable counterpart, higher advertising revenue.

For the year, the only segment underperforming compared to last year was the studio entertainment division, which saw revenue decrease 5 percent to $6.4 billion. The box office wasn't as strong for Disney this year compared with 2010, when Disney had put out blockbuster hits such as Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland and Iron Man 2 in 2010.

Shares of Disney rose 2.55 percent to close at $34.64. Shares are now at $35.30 in early after-hours trading.