Hit by falling tourist numbers and the woeful performance of broadcast TV network ABC, the Walt Disney Company has reported a plunge in profits for its fiscal first quarter.

On a 7% year-on-year drop in revenue to $7.1 billion, net income came in at $297 million, down 55% on twelve months before. However, after stringent cost-cutting at the group’s theme parks, earnings and operating income bettered analysts’ expectations – a sign, says Disney, that it has weathered the worst of the downturn.

Due to the ad slump, revenues at the group’s media networks fell 3% to $3bn, with operating income tumbling almost 60% to $246m. Of particular concern is ABC, which has suffered more than broadcast rivals NBC and CBS due to weak prime-time ratings [WAMN: 14-Jan-02].

At Disney’s theme parks, there were falls in sales (down 17% to $1.4bn) and operating income (dropping 51% to $187m), while revenue at its movie studios slid 2% to $1.8bn.

News source: Financial Times