Disney made it a trifecta, reporting better-than-expected quarterly financial results after News Corp. and Time Warner did similarly in recent days.
While cost-cutting at the film studio and good domestic home entertainment numbers helped, Disney owes its success mostly to television, a unit that CEO Bob Iger would like to ring more cash out of by way of ABC retransmission fees.
"It clearly would not be our preference to see that our signal was taken down and we'll do whatever we possibly can through negotiation to avoid that," he told analysts during a conference call Tuesday.
Jay Rasulo, on the call in his new role as CFO, singled out "Criminal Minds" as an overperformer for ABC, while Iger boasted of the Wednesday programming block of "The Middle," "Modern Family" and "Cougar Town."
Rasulo boasted that so far in the quarter the scatter market is 30% above upfront levels for ABC.
Iger also gave a shout-out to the iPad, the new product from Apple, run by Disney board member and top shareholder Steve Jobs. The tablet computing device that resembles a giant iPod Touch "could be a game changer in terms of enabling us to essentially create new forms of content," he said.
Disney, of course, is revamping its film studio under Rich Ross, and Iger promised it would emerge a more efficient machine after tinkering with the timing, pricing, marketing and distribution of its films. He said the quality of output will be noticed in 2011.
The notable titles this year, according to Iger, include "Alice in Wonderland," "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," "Iron Man 2" from its new Marvel acquisition and "Tron Legacy."
Iger also confirmed the company is looking to sell Miramax, saying that making movies under that label "isn't a core strategy of ours."
Overall, Disney's net income in the fiscal first quarter ending Jan. 2 was $844 million, $1 million less than a year ago. Revenue rose 1% to $9.74 billion.