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Despite ESPN fears, Disney's a buy: Analyst

Whether the force is with The Walt Disney Co. or not, investors remain fearful that its ESPN division will drag the stock further.

The entertainment giant reported first-quarter earnings that easily beat estimates on both top and bottom lines, and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" "had a lot to do with this big, positive surprise," according to Zacks Investment Research firm.

"The movies are killing it, recently we had 'Star Wars;' this weekend we'll have 'Zootopia,' " Barton Crockett, a senior research analyst at FBR Capital Markets told CNBC, adding that new business ventures such as the opening of a Shanghai theme park are growth catalysts.

The analysts acknowledged, however, that while "half of Disney is going gangbuster; the other half is mixed."

The Disney stock rose 2 percent on Thursday.

Despite Disney's performance, concerns that ESPN packages are exorbitant in the face of declining cable subscriptions prevail, according to Zacks.

The media company held its annual shareholder meeting on Thursday where CEO Bob Iger told investors that "even though cable packages are still the most popular way to watch television, our media businesses continue to innovate embracing digital technologies and platforms like Netflix and Hulu, and even creating our own like our DisneyLife service that recently launched in the U.K."

Crockett claims that the ESPN controversy is "manageable" for Disney and told "Closing Bell" that the stock is a long-term hold, adding that the new online divisions will be a nice compliment to the company overtime. In this light, his firm rates the stock outperform.

"They've got brands that others lack; they could navigate this in a way that others can't," he said.