The Walt Disney Co.'s revenue and earnings fell in its fiscal third quarter, dragged down by poor performance at its broadcast networks and a weak advertising market. The company also reduced its estimates for the fourth quarter.
Overall revenue was down 3 percent in the period, to $5.8 billion, and segment operating income was off 26 percent.
"The quarter was hampered by some external factors and some performance issues that we are addressing, however, over the longer term, the Disney recipe of high-quality content leveraged across a broad range of businesses forms the foundation of future growth," said Disney chairman Michael Eisner in a prepared statement.
Most of the losses were attributed to ABC and its broadcast stations — where operating income fell 69 percent and revenue was off 16 percent. Its cable properties didn't fare much better, as the segment, which includes ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and SoapNet, saw revenue rise 1 percent, to $923 million, but operating income decline 12 percent, to $212 million.
Disney said that it expects "earnings and earnings per share for the fourth quarter will likely be somewhat lower than prior year pro forma amounts," because of softness in travel and tourism and the economy in general.
In a statement, Disney said revenue and operating income at the cable networks was affected by higher uncollectable accounts from Adelphia Communications Corp. in the U.S. and Kirch Media in Germany, both of which have filed for bankruptcy protection.