Disney Tops Quarterly Earnings Forecasts Thanks in Part to ‘Frozen’ Merchandise Sales

All five company segments saw growth in operating income from first quarter 2014

Last Updated: February 3, 2015 @ 2:51 PM

The Walt Disney Company easily topped expected earnings for the most recent three-month period — 2015’s first fiscal quarter — thanks in part to the revenue generated by “Frozen” merchandise.

All five segments — Media Networks, Parks and Resorts, Studio Entertainment, Consumer Products, and Interactive — saw growth in operating income from first quarter 2014. Interactive and Studio Entertainment saw slight declines in revenues, while the other three rose by that measurement as well.

Consumer Products had the highest percentage increase per both metrics: Up 22 percent in revenue and 46 percent with regards to operating income.

Diluted earnings per share (EPS) for Disney’s first quarter were $1.27 on revenue of $13.4 billion and net income of $2.2 billion. Wall Street had forecasted EPS of about $1.08 per share on revenue of roughly $12.9 billion — so the company handily topped expectations.

The financials figures were up versus the same quarter last year, when Disney reported $1.03 per share in earnings. The company’s revenue grew nine percent, while net income jumped 19 percent.

Walt Disney’s stock (DIS) closed up $2.17 per share on Tuesday to $94.10 per share — an increase of 2.36 percent.

“This was yet another incredibly strong quarter for our Company, with diluted EPS up 23 percent driven by record revenue as well as significant growth in segment operating income,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer. “Our results once again reflect the strength of our brands and high quality content and demonstrate that our proven franchise strategy creates long-term value across all of our businesses.”

Of interest, decreases at ESPN mainly due to higher programming and production costs hurt the Cable leg’s bottom line. Affiliate fees and higher program sales from “Criminal Minds,” “Scandal” and “Once Upon A Time” toplined the increases for Broadcasting.

In the Studio Entertainment division, income growth came from home entertainment results (“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Frozen” and “Maleficent”), revenue share with the Consumer Products division (thanks yet again to “Frozen” merch), and higher TV/SVOD distribution results.

That all said, “Frozen” worked against Disney in one capacity, as Q1’s “Big Hero 6” could not compete with the animated musical’s theatrical distribution numbers from the same 90-day period last year.