Disney benefits from fans who flock to parks, films

Walt Disney's results surpassed Wall Street's estimates thanks to the summer crowds raving in the theme parks and the cinemas that screened the Marvel movie "Ant-Man and the Wasp."

The family entertainment company also unveiled plans for a new "Star Wars" video series for its upcoming streaming service, called Disney +, due out next year.

The new service is designed to compensate for the continued loss of subscribers through ESPN and other cable networks.

Disney is trying to transform itself into a broadband digital entertainment company as its audience moves to Netflix, Alphabets YouTube and other digital options.

The $ 71.3 billion acquisition of assets from Twenty-First Century Fox is nearing the acquisition of new movie and television properties.

Disney said quarter-over-quarter revenue increased 12% to $ 14.3 billion, ahead of analysts' average estimate of $ 13.73 billion.

Net income increased 33% to $ 2.3 billion, and adjusted earnings per share of $ 1.48 for analysts' consensus of $ 1.34 (IBES data from Refinitive).

The chairman and chief executive of Disney, Bob Iger, said that the company's Lucasfilm is developing a second Star Wars live action series for Disney +, a prequel for "Rogue One" starring Diego Luna.

The company is also working on a live-action Marvel series for the new service over Thor's devious brother Loki with Tom Hiddleston.

Iger said Disney will give a first look at the Disney + app and its programming at an investor conference in April.

The CEO was also optimistic about the prospects for Hulu, an on-demand and live TV service.

Disney will own 60% of the streaming service after purchasing Fox, and Iger said Disney would be interested in buying the remaining shares of Comcast and AT & T if they were ready to sell.

Iger said he had "seen an opportunity to increase investment in Hulu, especially on the programming side," and he believed prices could be raised.

In the past quarter, Media Networks, Disney's largest operation, increased its operating income by $ 4 billion year-on-year by 4%, as broadcaster ABC reported higher channel sales and program fees.

The ESPN cable network continued to lose subscribers, the company said as it shifted its focus to digital platforms.

To counteract this progressive shift, Disney released a streaming service called ESPN + this year with live college sports, documentaries, and other non-TV programs.

By comparison, Disney + includes movies and TV programs aimed at the family audience, and Hulu will be broader with more edgy programs for adults.

Meanwhile, the theme park business posted operating income of $ 829 million, an increase of 11% over the prior year, as Disney's US visitor numbers and spending increased during the busy summer months.

Discounts such as "Ant-Man and the Wasp" and "Incredibles 2" doubled Disney's film studio earnings to $ 596 million.

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