Earnings before one-time charges climbed 15% to $0.47 a share, while revenue managed to inch 1% higher to $9.74 billion. Analysts were braced for net income of $0.38 a share on $9.74 billion in revenue.
The only segment to gain ground on the top line was Disney's media-networks arm. This isn't really a surprise. Recessions are perfect for couch potatoes and escapism. Discretionary income may be scarce, but that didn't stop movie theaters from posting record box-office results last year. Just as Netflix
The real surprises at Disney actually come from its other divisions. The four non-media-networks subsidiaries may have suffered revenue slips during the company's fiscal first quarter, but half of them managed to post double-digit percentage gains in operating profits. Predictably, the operating-margin laggards were Disney's theme-park and consumer-products divisions.
The future should be generally upbeat for Disney. Its Toy Story, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Cars franchises all have sequels hitting the local multiplex -- and in Toy Story 3's case, IMAX
Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Disneyland's California Adventure are in the early stages of massive expansions. When complete, they should be major attendance draws.
Disney's strongest subsidiary now may actually be its biggest long-term question mark. Disney Channel appears vulnerable. It won't just be competing against Viacom's
Programming costs continue to escalate at ESPN, but the real threat here is that consumers may shun pricey cable and satellite television plans altogether. Even market leader Comcast
It's a trend worth watching -- and one that Disney surely will.
Will Disney be more or less relevant in 10 years? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz can usually be found at Walt Disney World. Not today, though. He does own shares in Disney and Netflix. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.