Disney Reports Strong Full Year and Fourth Quarter Profits

Networks, theme parks and studios boost Disney's 4th quarter sales 7% to $11.6 billion, profits by 12% to $1.4 billion

The Walt Disney Co. ended its fiscal year on a high note — a very high note.

Strong ratings at its broadcast and cable networks, busy theme parks and hit films like “Iron Man 3” and “Monsters University” boosted revenue by 7% to $45 billion, which increased net income by 8% to $6.1 billion.

For the fourth quarter, sales rose 7% to $11.6 billion, while net income was up 12% to $1.4 billion.

The year and quarter wrapped Sept. 30.

“We’re extremely pleased with our results for Fiscal 2013, delivering record revenue, net income and earnings per share for the third year in a row,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, the Walt Disney Company. “It was another great year for the company, both creatively and financially, and we remain confident that we are well positioned to continue our strong performance and drive long-term shareholder value.”

Despite the addition of a new competitor in Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Sports 1, broadcasts of NFL games helped boost ESPN’s viewership by 17%, as of late September, propping up Disney’s media networks group, the conglom’s largest division.

Overall, the networks earned $4.9 billion during the fourth quarter, up 1%, and $1.4 billion in profits, down 8%, which had been expected due to accounting practices.

Record attendance levels at Disney’s theme parks during the summer helped the resorts group post an 8% increase in revenue of $3.7 billion and 15% boost in profits to $571 million during the quarter.

The film division earned $1.5 billion, up 7%, and profits of $108 million, a gain of 35%. Much of that was driven by June’s “Monsters University,” which offset the losses from July’s expensive misfire “The Lone Ranger.” While Disney said traditional home video earnings have decreased, it’s seen an increase from subscription-based VOD sales of library titles. “Iron Man 3” was released on DVD during the quarter.

Disney also said Thursday that “Star Wars: Episode VII” will open Dec. 18, 2015.

Disney’s consumer products division saw a 14% uptick in sales of $1 billion and 30% surge in profits of $347 million, thanks to Marvel, “Planes,” “Monsters University” and Disney Junior merchandise. The takeover of Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars” and overhaul of how Disney sells toys and other products tied to the sci-fi brand should start boosting that division’s bottom line in the near future.

And the interactive arm, which recently released “Disney Infinity” as a competitor to Activisions’ “Skylanders” game franchise, earned $396 million and profits of $16 million, a positive sign for a division that has long struggled to turn a profit. Division posted a $76 million loss during the same year-ago frame, and still lost $87 million during the year on a 26% increase in sales to $1.1 billion.

Disney closed down 2.7% at $67.15, losing $1.85, as it was dragged down by the rest of the day’s trading on Wall Street.

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