LOS ANGELES (AP) — Revenue gains at Disney's parks and movie studio led to a 32 percent increase in net income during the January-March quarter. The results, which topped analyst expectations Tuesday, showed that the company's record-setting investments in a new cruise ship and multiple theme park upgrades last year are starting to pay off.
Net income grew to $1.51 billion, or 83 cents per share. Factoring out one-time items, adjusted earnings came to 79 cents per share, beating the 77 cents expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Revenue grew 10 percent to $10.55 billion, also topping the $10.49 billion expected by analysts.
Parks and resorts revenue rose 14 percent to $3.30 billion, thanks to higher attendance and guest spending at U.S. parks in Anaheim, Calif., and Orlando, Fla.
"People have been looking for parks to really step it up. We saw them really step it up in this quarter," said Barton Crocket, an analyst with brokerage Lazard Capital Markets.
The results were also boosted by the Disney Fantasy cruise ship, which launched in March of last year.
Movie studio revenue grew 13 percent to $1.34 billion, and the division returned to profitability following a bruising $200 million write-down last year after the sci-fi action movie "John Carter" flopped.
Revenue from TV networks like ESPN grew 6 percent to $4.96 billion. Although fees from distributors powered ESPN revenues higher, audiences and ad revenue fell at broadcast network ABC.
Disney's investment in parks fell by nearly half to $1.1 billion in the first six months of the fiscal year, from $2.1 billion a year ago. Analysts hope the decline in capital spending means the company will return more cash to shareholders in the form of more share buybacks.
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