Cable Drives Disney Numbers

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Disney’s cable networks posted $2.2 billion in third-quarter revenue, up 16% from the same period last year.

The cable-networks division -- which includes several ESPN networks, Disney Channel and ABC Family -- generated $864 million in operating income during the third quarter, up 22% from this time last year.

Disney’s broadcasting unit, which includes ABC and its owned-and-operated stations, didn’t perform as strongly as cable, with operating income dropping 40% during the third quarter to $29 million.

Increases at ESPN were driven by higher affiliate license fees and advertising revenues and lower marking expenses, Disney said. The higher affiliate revenues were “due to the recognition of increased deferred revenues and higher contractual rates,” the company added.

ESPN recognized $171 million of previously deferred programming commitment revenues during the third quarter compared with $84 million this time last year.

Disney said the increases at ESPN were partially offset by higher programming costs from its new Major League Baseball and National Football League rights deals and the addition of one NFL game to its contract.

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