Disney Revenue Down 3 Percent on ESPN, Studio Declines

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Analysts had expected first-quarter earnings of $1.49 per share on $15.26bn in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates. Operating income at Cable Networks fell 11% $864 million from $975 million in the prior year.

Revenue in Disney's cable networks business, which includes the company's cash cow ESPN and the youth-focused Disney Channels, fell 2.1% to $4.43 billion.

Disney's revenue decreased to $14.78 billion in the first quarter ended December 31 from $15.24 billion a year earlier.

The media and entertainment giant said profits tumbled 14% to $2.48 billion, or $1.55 per share, in the fiscal first quarter.

Disney also saw investees' equity income decrease 16% to $119 million during the quarter due to lower equity income from A+E Television Networks and equity losses from BAMTech, which the company bought in August 2016. It did though, Disney chief executive Robert A. Iger pointed out, secure its "first billion-dollar film of fiscal 2017" with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

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Specifically, ESPN was impacted by higher programming costs and lower advertising revenue, but received a partial boost from affiliate revenue growth.

Consumer products and interactive media revenue dove 23% to $1.5 billion because of a drop-off in merchandise sales for Frozen and Star Wars items. Revenue rose 6% to $4.56 billion, reflecting an increase in guest spending at its domestic theme parks.

"With our proven strategy and unparalleled collection of brands and franchises, we are extremely confident in our ability to continue to drive significant value over the long term", Iger said in a statement.

Disney shares closed Tuesday down less than 1 percent to $109.

Net income attributable to Disney dropped to US$2.48 billion, or US$1.55 per share, from US$2.88 billion, or US$1.73 per share, a year earlier. Shares were down more than 1 percent during after-hours trading.