Strong performances at The Walt Disney Co." href="http://www.latimes.com/topic/economy-business-finance/media-industry/the-walt-disney-co.-ORCRP017360.topic">Walt Disney Co.'s domestic theme parks and by ESPN (ESPN and the Disney Channel (tv network)" href="http://www.latimes.com/topic/economy-business-finance/media-industry/television-industry/disney-channel-%28tv-network%29-ORCRP000017459.topic">Disney Channel helped drive a 12% increase in the company's first-quarter net income compared with a year earlier.
The Burbank media giant reported that revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31 was essentially flat at $10.8 billion, up 1% from a year earlier. Net income rose to nearly $1.5 billion for the period, up from $1.3 billion a year earlier. Earnings per share rose 18%, to 80 cents, from 68 cents in the prior year's first quarter.
"Our results reflect the benefits of our ongoing strategy to invest in and leverage our core brands — Walt Disney" href="http://www.latimes.com/topic/entertainment/walt-disney-PEHST002298.topic">Disney, Pixar Animation" href="http://www.latimes.com/topic/economy-business-finance/media-industry/cinema-industry/pixar-animation-ORCRP012232.topic">Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC (tv network)" href="http://www.latimes.com/topic/economy-business-finance/media-industry/television-industry/abc-%28tv-network%29-ORCRP000009600.topic">ABC," Disney President and Chief Executive Robert A. Iger" href="http://www.latimes.com/topic/economy-business-finance/media-industry/robert-a.-iger-PEBSL000143.topic">Bob Iger told analysts.
Before Disney reported its results, media analysts said they would be watching advertising trends at ESPN, the powerhouse cable sports network that Morgan Stanley Dean Witter &amp; Company" href="http://www.latimes.com/topic/economy-business-finance/morgan-stanley-dean-witter-%26-company-ORCRP010226.topic">Morgan Stanley estimates contributes about 8% of the company's revenue.