Disney profit beats estimates, though revenue falls short

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Walt Disney’s movie studio and theme parks business powered second-quarter profits to the top end of estimates, but revenues were lower than analysts forecasts.

The box-office success of Moana and Doctor Strange drove a 21 per cent increase in operating income at Disney’s movie studio, while profits at the theme parks rose 20 per cent thanks to higher attendance and spending at its US attractions.

“Our continued strong performance is a direct result of our proven strategic focus on great branded content, innovative technology and global growth,” said Bob Iger, chief executive.

Wall Street is closely monitoring the performance of ESPN, Disney’s powerhouse sports cable network. ESPN had been seen as immune to the impact of cord-cutting — the cancellation of cable and satellite subscriptions — but has lost subscribers in recent years.

Revenues for the quarter rose from $13bn to $13.3bn — shy of the $13.45bn expected by analysts. Net income increased from $2.1bn to $2.4bn.

Earnings per share rose from $1.30 to $1.50, at the top end of analyst estimates.

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