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Networks Help to Boost Disney

11/18/2004 10:01 AM Eastern

The Walt Disney Co. wrapped up its fiscal year on a high note, thanks in part to its media-networks division.

Media-networks revenues for the year rose 8% to $11.8 billion, and segment operating income jumped 79% to $2.2 billion. For the quarter, revenues were up 10% to $2.9 billion and segment operating income rose 50% to $448 million from $298 million in the prior year.

Disney said the operating-income gains reflected stronger performance at ESPN due to higher affiliate and advertising revenues and lower National Football League rights amortization; improvements at the ABC Television network, primarily due to higher advertising revenue; increases at the domestic and international Disney Channels, driven by higher affiliate revenue; and growth at ABC Family, also due to higher advertising revenue.

Segment operating income attributable to cable rose $748 million for the year. Those gains were partially offset by other programming, sales, marketing, pension and administrative cost increases. Higher affiliate revenue at ESPN was primarily due to contractual rate adjustments, while increases at the Disney Channels were primarily due to subscriber growth.

Disney reported overall fourth-quarter revenue of $7.543 billion, up 8% from $7.014 billion in the previous-year period. Fourth-quarter net income was $516 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, up 24% from $415 million ($0.20) in the year-ago quarter.

For the full year, Disney posted revenue of $30.752 billion, up14% from the previous-year figure of $27.061 billion, and net income of $2.345 billion, or $1.12 per diluted share, up 85% from $1.267 billion ($0.65) in the prior year.

September