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Thursday, 2 August, 2001, 21:31 GMT 22:31 UK
Theme parks depress Disney profits
The Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Disney theme parks: income down
The Walt Disney Company has blamed sliding theme park takings and a weak TV advertising market for a 3% drop in underlying profits.

The firm, reporting third-quarter profits of $479m, revealed a 1% drop in operating income from the theme park division, with a cost-cutting drive implemented at Disney World in Florida to offset a drop in visitor numbers.

"At our parks, effective expense management measures have largely compensated for the weaker attendance that we anticipated," chairman Michael Eisner said.

Income from Disney's broadcasting arm, which owns the ABC television network, plunged 29%, as sales dropped 6% in the face of a sluggish advertising market.

Studios outperform

But Disney reported strong earnings from its studio division, boosted by the films Spy Kids and Pearl Harbor, which has grossed more than $193m at US box offices so far.

Michael Eisner, chairman, The Walt Disney Company
Michael Eisner: "strong growth" at film arm
"Our studio has added yet another quarter... of strong growth," Mr Eisner said.

The profits figure was equal to earnings of 23 cents a share, beating Wall Street expectations of 21 cents a share.

But the results, released after the close of markets, came too late to prevent Disney shares sliding $0.12 to $26.55 on Thursday.

The shares surged to $27.35 in after-hours trading.

Disney is the world's second largest media and entertainment conglomerate, after AOL Time Warner.

See also:

08 Jun 01 | Business
Disney in global push
08 Jun 01 | Americas
Clean underwear for Disney workers
28 Mar 01 | Business
Disney to axe 4,000 jobs
19 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Disney settles Fantasia claim
05 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Disney and Sony lead worldwide takings
31 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Silent star heir sues Disney
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