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Disney Earnings Beat, but Revenue Is Light

Walt Disney reported quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street's expectations as revenue at its parks and resorts grew, but revenue still came up short of analysts' forecasts on Tuesday.

Cinderella's Castle
Flikr/cdharrison
Cinderella's Castle

After the earnings announcement, the entertainment company's shares fell slightly in trading after the closing bell. (Click here to get the latest quotes for Disney.)

Net income rose 24 percent to $1.83 billion from $1.48 billion last year.

The company posted fiscal third-quarter earnings excluding items of $1.01 per share, up from 78 cents a share in the year-earlier period.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $11.09 billion from $10.68 billion a year ago.

Analysts had expected the company to report earnings excluding items of 93 cents a share on $11.31 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Driven by Disney's superhero movie "The Avengers," which has made more than $1.4 billion worldwide, studio income increased to $313 million from $49 million a year earlier.

The studio results offset a decline in earnings at ESPN's powerhouse ESPN network, which the company said was due to the timing of deferred affiliate fees. Overall its cable TV unit, the company's largest, increased by 1 percent to $1.86 billion.

Earnings at theme parks rose 21 percent, the result of increases at its Tokyo theme park, where the company collects management and other fees, and which was impacted in the year earlier quarter by a temporary suspension of operations following the March 2011 earthquake.

“The consumer is still flocking to productions they deem valuable and good, so we’ve not had a problem attracting them to our parks and resorts,” Disney CEO Robert Iger told CNBC. “And when they go, their spending is up nicely from a year ago.”

“As we look into the future, we see a relative strong environment for raising subscription fees for the channels we have,” Iger added.

Before the company's release, Peter Costa, Empire Executions president, commented on what Disney's performance may say about the broader U.S. economy.

“When Disney is doing well and theme park revenues are up, obviously people are spending more money," Costa told CNBC. "That’s almost better than some of the consumer sentiment data. This is a very powerful stock."

In a conference call following the earnings report, Iger said Disney plans to bring a Marvel television show developed by "Avengers" director Joss Whedon to the ABC broadcast network.

Disney just signed an exclusive deal with Whedon to write and direct an "Avengers" movie sequel and to help develop a "Marvel-based series for ABC," Iger told analysts on a conference call following the company's earnings report.