‘Frozen’ and World Cup help to lift Disney’s results
The numbers: The Walt Disney Company said profits jumped 22% to $2.2 billion in its latest quarter. On a per share basis, it earned $1.28, the highest quarterly EPS in the company’s 91-year history, CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. Sales grew 8% to $12.5 billion. The media and entertainment giant soundly beat Wall Street’s already strong expectations as analysts had predicted EPS of $1.17 and $12.2 billion in revenue from Walt Disney (DIS).
The takeaway: Disney’s parks and resorts unit saw a healthy 8% sales bump during its third fiscal quarter with revenue increasing to $3.9 billion despite ticket-price hikes at some of the company’s resorts and bad weather that other companies used as an excuse in their earnings. Revenue for Disney’s cable and broadcasting networks, which include ABC and ESPN, increased 3% to $5.5 billion. The company said the addition of the FIFA World Cup resulted in increased production and programming costs, but the tournament also boosted ESPN’s advertising revenue.
Meanwhile, Disney’s entertainment studio’s revenue grew 14% to $1.8 billion as the company continued to ride the mega success of ‘Frozen,’ which was released in theaters last fall and went on to become the highest-grossing animated film ever. The popularity of ‘Frozen’ merchandise, as well as items tied to the Planes and Spider-Man franchises, also pushed sales of Disney’s consumer products unit up 16% to $902 million.
What’s interesting: As Fortune recently pointed out, the success of ‘Frozen’ merchandise is far from dying out as the animated film’s related toys, games and clothing are likely to be big sellers during the upcoming holiday season, with U.S. sales alone expected to top $1 billion this year. Disney’s studios also appear to have another hit franchise on its hands with the recent box-office success of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which recently set a new August record with its $94 million opening weekend. CEO Iger specifically called out “the spectacular performance” of the film in a statement in the company’s earnings release in which he said the film “holds great promise as a new franchise for our company and once again reinforces the tremendous value of Marvel.”
Still, the very strong quarterly results still weren’t enough to boost Disney’s stock after an all-around rough day for U.S. markets. Shares closed Tuesday down 0.6% and then fell slightly in after-hours trading. But the company is still up almost 14% for the year.