As the undisputed leader in the global children’s entertainment business, The Walt Disney Company has posted a record-setting quarter with US$2.5 billion in earnings – an 11% jump from last year’s third quarter. For the nine months ending June 27, Disney’s total earnings stood at US$6.8 billion, up from US$6 billion in 2014.
Diluted earnings per share for the House of Mouse’s third fiscal quarter also skyrocketed to US$1.45 from US$1.28 for a 13% increase. And looking at the big picture, revenues were up in four of Disney’s five main business segments (media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment and consumer products) this past quarter, while interactive retracted.
Disney Channels, ABC Family and ESPN drove growth in Disney’s cable networks by 5% to US$5.768 billion. Cable networks operating income in increased by 7% to US$2.1 billion, while broadcast operating income decreased by 15% to US$300 million as a result of higher programming costs, lower advertising revenue and higher labor costs. However, this was partially offset by growth in affiliate fees and higher program sales revenue from SVOD distribution.
In Disney’s studio entertainment segment, where revenues increased 13% to US$2 billion and operating income increased by 15% to US$472 million. Growth came from higher theatrical (Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Cinderella) and international TV distribution (Star Wars titles) sales, as well as the studio getting a bigger revenue share of film-related consumer products.
Continuing with consumer products, revenues for the quarter were up 6% to US$954 million and segment operating income increased by 27% to US$348 million. Higher operating income was the result of a bump in merchandise licensing revenue and lower third-party royalty expenses. Key driving properties were The Avengers, Frozen and Star Wars, which were offset by lower revenues from the Spider-Man franchise.
For park and resorts, revenues were up 4% to US$4.1 billion and segment operating income increased by 9% to US$922 million. Growth was attributed to an increase in domestic operations (increased volume and guest spending), which was partially offset by declines internationally (lower attendance and higher operating costs).
Finally, on the interactive side, revenues dropped by 22% to US$208 million and segment operating income declined by US$29 million to break even. Declines in Disney Infinity and console game catalog titles sales were partially offset by the success of Tsum Tsum.
Starting in fiscal 2016, Disney will begin reporting consumer products and interactive together as DCPI following a recent merger of the two business segments.