Looking even further ahead, Disney has lined itself for a big payday from Netflix Inc. by licensing its latest theatrical releases to the Internet video subscription service beginning in 2016. That deal was reached in early December.
Disney earned $1.38 billion, or 77 cents per share, during its fiscal first quarter, a three-month stretch that ended Dec. 29. That compared with net income of $1.46 billion, or 80 cents per share, in the same period in 2011.
Excluding certain charges and one-time gains, Disney said it would have earned 79 cents per share. On that basis, the results exceeded the average estimate of 76 cents per share among analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Revenue climbed 5 percent from the previous year to $11.3 billion — about $130 million above analyst predictions.