Disney posts stellar earnings

Studio division in slight slump

By Dade Hayes
February 5, 2008

Disney released stellar first-quarter earnings Tuesday, but in a repeat of the scenario that played out with News Corp.'s second quarter eanings on Monday, Mouse House's studio division saw a double-digit slide in operating net.

Total operating income gained 15% from the year-earlier period to $2.25 billion and revenues spiked 9% to $10.45 billion. The profit figure excludes gains from the year-ago sale of interests in the E! cable net and Us Weekly magazine, and income from the now-discontinued ABC Radio ops.

But while other segments, especially consumer products, posted robust gains, studio profits dipped 15% on an operating basis. Execs blamed softness in homevid, especially given comparisons to last year's stalwarts "Cars," "Pirates of the Caribbean2" and "The Little Mermaid."

The theme parks, media networks and consumer products units all surged on the conglom's continued execution of its crossover branding strategy with hits such as "High School Musical" and "Hannah Montana."

Results came after the close of a market session that saw the Dow plummet more than 370 points. Disney shares lost a bit more than 2% to $30.07.