Walt Disney Co reported higher quarterly profit than expected, beating Wall Street forecasts as its cable networks including ESPN generated higher advertising revenue and collected more fees from pay-TV distributors.
For July through September, Disney’s net income rose to $1.61 billion, or 95 cents per share. Excluding items, the company earned $1.20 per share.
Revenue was slightly below estimates as the company lost subscribers at certain cable networks while picking up customers from the SEC Network which launched in 2014.
The media networks which include ESPN, the Disney Channels and ABC recorded a 27% increase in operating income to $1.8 billion.
Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger on Thursday said he remains “bullish” about ESPN and “there was no reason to panic” about his earlier comments acknowledging changes in TV viewing habits.
“We like the environment because we think long-term it gives us more opportunities,” Iger said.
Investors are still worried about cord-cutting, which may explain why Disney shares remained flat on Thursday. Disney shares were down 0.1 percent in after-hours trading at $112.85.
Disney shares plummeted in August after the company announced a decline in ESPN subscribers.
The company’s total revenue rose 9.1% to $13.51 billion but missed the average analyst estimate of about $13.57 billion.
Disney also experienced a 7% rise in operating profit to $687 million at its theme parks, lifted by higher spending and attendance at its U.S. parks.
“Inside Out” and “Ant-Man” also helped profit more than double to $530 million in the company’s movie sector.
Disney’s consumer products division recorded a 10% increase in profit to $416 million.