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Walt Disney Co. (DIS-N) reported stronger quarterly profit and revenue, aided by a hefty rise in advertising sales at its ESPN cable sports channels and a strong showing from its parks and resorts division.
Disney, home to the ABC broadcast network, a suite of cable channels, a movie studio and theme parks, reported earnings of $1.3 billion US, or 68 cents per share. That was up from $844 million US, or 44 cents a share, in the period a year ago. Revenue rose 10 percent to $10.72 billion.
All three of Disney's biggest business divisions -- media networks, studio entertainment and parks and resorts -- turned in higher operating profit for its fiscal first quarter. But media networks stole the show, due in large measure to the performance of ESPN.
Ratings at ESPN were up about 9 percent in prime-time during the last three months of the year thanks to Monday Night Football, college football bowl games, the National Basketball Association and its flagship "SportsCentre" program.
Overall, media networks, which also include ABC and Disney Channels, posted an 11 percent jump in revenue. Profit rose 47 percent.