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Disney Profit Lights Up

Updated from 4:48 p.m. EDT

Walt Disney (DIS) reported a 27% jump in second-quarter profits, beating estimates on Wall Street, as the media giant saw double-digit growth in operating earnings across of all its business units.

Still, the company's revenue fell slightly short of expectations, sending shares lower in after-hours trading.

For the quarter ended March 31, Disney earned $931 million, or 44 cents a share, up from the $733 million, or 37 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had an average estimate for expected earnings of 38 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial.

On its top line, Disney reported a 1% uptick in revenue to $8.07 billion, compared with analysts' expectation of $8.12 billion.

The company's biggest division by revenue, media networks, recorded a 21% jump in operating income to $1.18 billion, though revenue was virtually flat at $3.56 billion. The division includes the broadcast network ABC and the cable sports network ESPN.

While ABC logged a 7% decline in revenue amid lower ratings, the broadcaster enjoyed a 33% increase in operating income due to syndication sales of hit shows like Desperate Housewives, Lost, and Grey's Anatomy and its new series Ugly Betty and Brothers and Sisters.

The cable networks, led by ESPN, had a 19% gain in operating income on a 7% increase in revenue.

Elsewhere, Disney's film business racked up a 60% surge in operating income to $235 million. The bottom line got a boost from improved domestic results from new film releases, like Wild Hogs and Bridge to Terabithia, coupled with lower distribution expenses due to timing of those releases.

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