The Big Takeaways From Disney's Earnings
With its stock trading at an all-time high, Disney delivered growth across each of its five divisions, beating Wall Street expectations on both the top and bottom line.
In an exclusive interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell," CEO Bob Iger called it "all in, a great quarter for the company." Showing the strongest gains, parks and resorts revenue grew 14 percent, while operating income grew 73 percent.
"Our parks and resorts had a great quarter that was helped a lot by some of our investments, notably at Disneyland and in Florida, but also our new cruise ships," Iger said.
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Walt Disney resorts set new attendance records, with domestic attendance up 8 percent and spending up 10 percent. Iger said the company is benefiting from a better global economy and that its investments have been paying off.
"We made some really big bets—Walt Disney World and Resort, over $1 billion in California Adventure at Disneyland Resort, new Fantasyland in Florida, two new cruise ships, three new lands. ... There's just been great demand for all our parks, both for the new attractions and also for the experience that we provide," Iger said.
Iger said the summer period is running "high single digits" above last year. "I think that continues to show a consumer that's feeling a little bit more confident."
He also talked about the success of the media networks business, which continues to be Disney's biggest and most profitable by far. Revenue grew 6 percent to nearly $5 billion, and operating income grew 8 percent.
ESPN continues to be the biggest growth driver, largely thanks to higher affiliate fees. Though ad revenue was up 4 percent in the last quarter, this quarter is looking even better, up 10 percent. When pressed by an analyst on how much more ESPN could continue to grow, Iger said, "We think ESPN's future, in terms of its growth trajectory, is actually quite good."
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The executive is bullish about the potential for digital revenue but wants to see new measurement technology.
"We need Nielsen or some measurement system to kick in that adequately compensates us for consumption on new devices," he said. The company is already selling ad packages across multiple media, he added, but the key will be measurement to understand the value of mobile eyeballs.
He came out against Aereo, echoing CBS CEO Les Moonves and News Corp's Rupert Murdoch. "What Aereo is trying to do is essentially steal properties that we own, great television stations and our network, and essentially resell it to consumers for their own gain."
The company's weak spot was ABC. Broadcasting revenue dipped 2 percent, while operating income fell 40 percent. The problem was higher programming costs and lower advertising revenue because of lower ratings and more online advertising.
But the outlook going into the upfront ad sales period next week is bullish.
"Scatter marketplace has been good across the board at our networks," Iger said. "We feel good about the prospects for the upfront and good about our programs. I would say we are reasonably bullish about prospects for advertising for the rest of the year."
—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin