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Disney’s movie studios have taken a beating this year, but the parent company is doing fine, with revenues and earnings going up over last year.Both numbers beat expectations this week, as reported by Deadline.com
So what’s keeping the company going strong even as blockbuster movies like Cars 2 and Thor underperform? That’s easy.
Revenue from their cable networks was $3.52 billion last quarter, up 7% over the year before.
That’s the reason Disney’s overall revenue rose 7%, even as the operating profit at the movie/entertainment division dropped 60%.
Cable means ESPN, which commands the highest subscriber fees of any network on cable, more than four times the average of other channels. That’s pretty “heavy lifting,” as Deadline puts it.
They also saved money by not plunking down billions for the NHL and the Olympics, as NBC did this year.
According the James Andrew Miller, the author of a recent tell-all book about ESPN, those cable subscriber fees (combined with fantastic ad rates) make ESPN more valuable than the NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball combined. More valuable than their “big brothers” at over-the-air ABC. More valuable than any other property on TV.
And unlike Cars 2, a bad script can’t screw that up.