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Disney's net income rises 30% in fourth quarter

November 10, 2011 |  2:39 pm

Minnie

Walt Disney Co. reported improved fourth-quarter earnings, buoyed by gains at Disney Channel and ESPN and at the Burbank company's theme parks.

The entertainment giant reported net income of $1.08 billion for the quarter ending Oct. 1, a jump of 30% compared with a year earlier. Revenue also rose 7% to $10.4 billion. 

Disney's media networks group, which includes the ABC television network and cable channels, continues to be a profit engine for Disney. Media networks posted operating income of $1.4 billion, a gain of 20% from a year earlier.

The results were driven by sales of Disney Channel programming and higher fees paid by cable and satellite distributors, as well as international advertising growth. ESPN also benefited from fee increases and ad growth.

Disney's parks and resorts saw a 33% surge in operating income, which rose to $421 million for the quarter. The improved results at the company's domestic parks, Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Paris were partially offset by costs associated with opening the new Aulani hotel and vacation resort.

Walt Disney Studios reported operating income of $117 million in the fourth quarter, up 13% from a year earlier, even though revenue fell 8%. The studio's domestic movie ticket sales benefited from the 3-D re-release of the animated classic "The Lion King" and distribution fees collected for releasing DreamWorks' "The Help." This helped offset the decreases in home entertainment sales.

The long-struggling interactive group reported a 19% gain in revenue, which rose to $223 million.  Operating losses for the group fell to $94 million, compared with $104 million in the same period last year.

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

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Photo: Minnie Mouse and Chloe Moretz at Disneyland in October. Credit: Getty Images.

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