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Disney falls short of expectations with $13B revenue in Q4

By Doug G. Ware
Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, seen here ringing the closing bell on Wall Street in 2014, praised the conglomerate's fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, which was reported at $1.10 per share -- slightly off the $1.16 per share earnings analysts expected. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/57bcfa46cac5915761e9da3b2dbc8442/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, seen here ringing the closing bell on Wall Street in 2014, praised the conglomerate's fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, which was reported at $1.10 per share -- slightly off the $1.16 per share earnings analysts expected. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

BURBANK, Calif., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Declining ad revenue for preeminent sports network ESPN has impacted the Walt Disney Company's bottom line, figures for the fourth quarter indicated Thursday.

The media conglomerate released its Q4 and full yearly earnings, which were slightly short of analysts' expectations.

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Disney reported adjusted earnings of $1.10 per share on revenue of $13.1 billion for the period between July 3 and Oct. 1 -- about 6 cents per share short of what analysts expected.

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Though the figures were below market targets, the company expressed satisfaction with the Q4 statistics.

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"We're very pleased with our performance for the year, delivering the highest revenue, net income and earnings per share in Disney's history," CEO Robert A. Iger said in a statement. "Fiscal 2016 was our sixth consecutive year of record results"

Iger noted multiple elements that boosted the company's bottom line, including the return of the Star Wars franchise and its opening of a resort in Shanghai. The fiscal year began on Oct. 2, 2015.

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Disney reported $55.6 billion in revenue for the year, a 6 percent increase over fiscal 2015. Quarterly, the revenue figures were down 3 percent from $13.5 billion.

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Disney's report listed $1.8 billion in net income for the quarter, an increase of 10 percent over 2015 ($1.6B), and $9.4 billion for the year. That figure was $8.4 billion for last year, an increase of 12 percent.

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Part of the reason Disney was off-target, analysts say, is a reduction in ad revenue at Disney-owned ESPN. Earlier this month, it was reported that the sports network lost 621,000 subscribers in a single month, which suppressed Disney stock.

"Nielsen numbers represent a dramatic, unexplainable variation over prior months' reporting, affecting all cable networks." ESPN told CNBC on Nov. 4.

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Iger said last month that live streaming, which is partly responsible for ESPN's declining figures, is an avenue that Disney is looking at.

"The sports that people watch today are not just watched on a fixed television set in the living room or den," he said. "They're watched in many different ways. And not only are they watched in their entirety, but they're watched in snackable form or short form ... the destination that was once 'SportsCenter,' while it was still strong, is not what it used to be, because it's been disaggregated by technology."

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Disney stock (NYSE: DIS) closed at $96 per share Thursday, and climbed another 2 percent in after hours trading.

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