NFL Helps Drag Down Disney


Burbank, Calif. -- High costs associated with its broadcast
division -- mainly a $9 billion contract with the National Football League to carry games
on its ABC and ESPN networks -- helped drag Walt Disney Co. earnings down by 18 percent
for the first quarter ended Dec. 31.

Disney reported earnings of $622 million, or 30 cents per
share for the period, on sales of $6.59 billion. That compares to net income of $755
million, or 37 cents per share, on revenue of $6.34 billion during the same period last

However, the current period includes a $345 million
non-cash gain from Disney's acquisition of 43 percent of Internet portal Infoseek
Corp. Without that gain, earnings would have been $470 million, or 23 cents per share.

Operating income in the broadcast division fell by 48
percent, to $265 million, and was down in all of the company's divisions, save its
theme parks. The creative content division, which includes movies, home video and retail
operations, saw operating income drop by 39 percent to $430 million for the quarter.
Operating income at Disney theme parks and resorts was up by 17 percent, to $335 million.