Walt Disney Posts Record Annual Profit

The entrance gate to Walt Disney in Burbank, Calif.


mario anzuoni/Reuters

Walt Disney

DIS -0.90%

turned in a strong financial performance in the latest period, as its parks-and-resorts and studio-entertainment segments helped it deliver record profit and revenue for the year.

Disney, best known for traditional film and television entertainment, has outlined a high-stakes plan focusing on direct-to-consumer offerings to fight back against streaming giants like Netflix Inc. and Inc.

Part of that plan, Chief Executive Robert Iger has said, will be folding in 21st Century Fox Inc.’s entertainment assets, including Fox’s storied film and television studios.

Disney would essentially control three digital services: ESPN Plus for sports; Hulu, currently a joint venture of Disney, Fox, Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal and AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia; and a Disney-branded service, set to launch in late 2019.

For its fiscal year ended in September, Disney reported a profit of $12.6 billion on $59.43 billion in revenue, compared with a profit of $8.98 billion and $55.14 billion in revenue a year earlier.

Overall, fourth-quarter profit rose 33% to $2.32 billion, or $1.55 a share. Meanwhile, revenue rose 12% to $14.31 billion. Excluding one-time items, Disney earned $1.48 a share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected $1.34 a share in adjusted profit on $13.73 billion in revenue.

Disney shares, which have outperformed the market with a 15% increase over the past 12 months, rose 1.7% to $118 in after-hours trading Thursday.

In the latest period, the company’s parks-and-resorts operating profit rose 11% and revenue increased 9%. The studio-entertainment segment reported a 50% increase in revenue while operating profit more than doubled, helped by the release of films such as “Incredibles 2” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

Media networks, Disney’s largest segment by revenue and home to its cable networks and broadcast operations, saw operating profit increase 4% and revenue rise 9% to $5.47 billion.

Corporate expenses rose due to the Fox deal and higher compensation costs, Disney said.

The Fox deal is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

Fox and News Corp, parent company of The Wall Street Journal, share common ownership.

Write to Maria Armental at

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