Disney reports 14 % revenue growth

MUMBAI: Despite the fact that it suffered major losses on the theatrical front with films like The Alamo failing badly at the box office and the fact that it sold most of its retail outlets in the US, Disney has still managed to record a 14 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue for the fiscal ended 30 September 2004.

Revenues increased to just under $ 31 billion ($ 30.752 billion) from $ 27.061 billion in the previous year. For the fourth quarter there was marginal growth of eight per cent to $ 7.5 billion.

For the year, Disney had to face restructuring and impairment charges ($64 million or $0.02 per share) in connection with the earlier mentioned sale of its stores in North America.

Media Networks revenues for the year increased eight per cent to $11.8 billion, and operating income increased by as much as 79 per cent to $2.2 billion. For the quarter, revenues increased 10 per cent to $2.9 billion and segment operating income increased 50 per cent to $448 million from $298 million in the prior year.

The rise in operating income was due to a much stronger performance at ESPN as a result of higher affiliate and advertising revenues and lower NFL rights amortisation. ABC managed to increase ad revenue. There were also increases at the domestic and international Disney Channels driven by higher affiliate revenue. In India Disney will launch three channels next year.

Studio Entertainment revenue for the year increased by 18 per cent to $8.7 billion and segment operating income increased by seven per cent to $662 million. However for the quarter, revenues decreased by 14 per cent to $1.9 billion and operating income decreased to a low of $23 million from $205 million in the prior-year quarter.

The disappointing theatrical motion picture distribution revenues reflected the weak performance of films like Home on the Range, The Alamo and King Arthur . Last year, there were two huge hits Finding Nemo and Pirates of the Caribbean.

In the consumer products division revenues for the year increased seven per cent to $2.5 billion and segment operating income increased by 39 per cent to $534 million.

Disney CEO Michael Eisner added, "By any measure, 2004 was an outstanding year for The Walt Disney Company. All three of our core financial measures - cash flow, earnings per share and return on invested capital - showed strong growth, and we increased our operating income at each of our operating segments demonstrating the balanced nature of the company's performance.

"As we begin the new fiscal year, our focus remains on delivering long-term value to our shareholders through the continued creation of the kind of outstanding content that widens the global appeal of our great existing brands and helps build exciting new ones."

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