February 7, 2012 / 5:58 PM / in 7 years

Disney revenue short of expectations, shares slip

(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) reported a quarterly revenue increase that fell short of Wall Street expectations as media networks and theme parks gained but revenue at its movie studio declined.

Disney shares fell 1.8 percent to $40.28 in after-hours trading.

The operator of television networks ESPN and ABC, a movie studio and theme parks, posted fiscal first-quarter revenue of $10.8 billion, a 1 percent gain from a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected revenue of $11.2 billion for the quarter.

Disney’s studio division had a surprise hit with modestly budgeted film “The Muppets”, but suffered from tough comparisons with home video sales for “Cars 2” versus the smash “Toy Story 3” a year earlier. The studio’s revenue fell 16 percent in the quarter to $1.6 billion.

Revenue at media networks, the company’s largest unit, gained 3 percent to $4.8 billion. Within that unit, broadcasting saw a 7 percent dip and margins fell, Gabelli & Co analyst Brett Harriss said. “That’s the biggest negative that I saw,” he said.

The theme parks unit, which like media networks have held up through a struggling economy, rose 10 percent. “Disney continues to exhibit pricing power, which shows the strength and competitive advantage of that business,” Morningstar analyst Michael Corty said.

Reporting By Lisa Richwine; Editing by Bernard Orr

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