UPDATE 2-Disney posts higher revenue, shares gain

Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:00pm EST

* Disney revenue gains 7 pct

* Shares rise 2 percent after hours

By Lisa Richwine

Nov 10 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co reported higher quarterly revenue that beat analyst expectations as advertising rose at the company's cable networks and theme park revenue increased despite the tough economy.

Shares of the company rose 2.5 percent to $35.50 after hours, up from an earlier close of $34.64 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The operator of networks ESPN and ABC, a movie studio and theme parks, reported fiscal fourth-quarter revenue of $10.43 billion -- a 7 percent gain from a year earlier.

Net income for the quarter rose 30 percent to $1.1 billion. Earnings per share came in at 58 cents.

Results were generally within expectations across the company, showing strength at the media and theme park units that are sensitive to the economy, analysts said.

"They were solidly in line on balance," said Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible, adding the parks unit appeared "relatively healthy" despite concerns about consumer sentiment.

The parks and resorts group reported an 11 percent revenue gain to $3.1 billion.

Disney is famous for producing steady gains quarter after quarter under Chief Executive Bob Iger, who announced last month he will step down as CEO after March 2015.

The company had been expected to show stronger results at media networks after rivals including Comcast Corp , Time Warner Inc and News Corp reported gains propelled by a healthy advertising market.

The media networks unit, the company's largest which incorporates sports channel ESPN and the ABC broadcast network, posted a 9 percent gain in revenue to $4.8 billion.

The studio and entertainment division was the laggard among Disney's main business arms, with revenue sliding 8 percent to just under $1.46 billion in the quarter.

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