Cable Helps Disney Record 30% Q4 Earnings Advance

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The Walt Disney Co.'s fourth-quarter profits jumped on a strong showing by the company's media networks and parks and resorts.

Fourth-quarter net income rose 30% to $1.1 billion from $835 million on a 7% increase in revenues to $10.4 billion.

"Fiscal 2011 was a great year financially and strategically, demonstrating the strength of our brands and businesses with record revenue, net income and earnings per share," Disney president and CEO Robert A. Iger said in a statement. "We are confident the company is well-positioned to deliver long-term value for our shareholders with our focus on quality content, compelling uses of technology and global asset growth."

Disney's media networks, including ABC and ESPN, reported a 20% gain in operating income to $1.5 billion. Revenues rose 9% to $4.8 billion.

Cable network operating income rose 18% to $1.3 billion on an 11% increase in revenue to $3.5 billion. The company said its worldwide Disney Channels had better programming sales, higher affiliate revenue due to contractual rate increases in the U.S., and advertising growth internationally. ESPN also showed gains because of higher contractual rates for affiliate fees and a growth in ad revenue that was partly offset by increases in programming, production, labor and marketing costs.

Broadcasting operating income jumped 37% to $201 billion on a 4% increase in revenue to $1.3 billion. ABC had lower programming and production costs and higher advertising revenues. The ad gains came from higher rates, better news ratings and more sports units sold, but were partially offset by lower primetime ratings. There was also decreased political advertising on the owned TV stations.

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