Major boosts across all Disney divisions – particularly within the Studio Entertainment and Interactive segments – led the House of Mouse to see profits rise 33% to US$1.8 billion during its first fiscal quarter of 2014.
For the period ended December 28, 2013, the company encountered double-digit increases in operating income across all business segments.
Improvements at the domestic Disney Channels, as well as significant growth at ESPN, helped Media Network sales rise 4% to US$5.3 billion over last year.
The Studio Entertainment group saw a 23% jump in sales to US$1.9 billion, propelled by the box office successes of Frozen and Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World. Studio Entertainment operating income increased 75% to US$409 million due to an increase in global theatrical distribution results and increases in domestic home entertainment and television/SVOD distribution.
Consumer products revenues were up 11% to US$1.1 billion, and segment operating income rose by 24% to US$430 million, due to increases within licensing and retail businesses and the addition of Lucasfilm properties to the portfolio. While Planes, Disney Junior and Monsters University merch drew solid revenues, these sales were offset by lower-performing Cars and Spider-Man branded products.
The largest comparable gains occurred within the Interactive segment, with sales rising 38% to US$403 million, thanks largely in part to the early success of Disney Infinity – which helped the company reach full-year revenues of US$1.1 billion last year – compared to the underwhelming performance of Epic Mickey 2 in the prior-year quarter. The company’s Japan-based mobile business also contributed to the growth of the unit. Despite these gains, rumors of major layoffs within the Interactive division are still circulating.