By Lisa Richwine and Aishwarya Venugopal
(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co on Thursday reported earnings that missed Wall Street targets as profit fell at its media networks unit, the movie studio and its consumer products division, sending shares down 3 percent.
Revenue from Disney's cable business, the largest unit which includes ESPN and Disney Channel, fell marginally to $3.95 billion in the fourth quarter, missing the $4.06 billion consensus of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Chief Executive Robert Iger focused on the power of Disney brands, rather than the quarterly results, in a statement in the press release.
"No other entertainment company is better equipped to navigate the ever-evolving media landscape," he said.
Disney's television networks have been under pressure as audiences rapidly embrace online streaming services and ditch traditional pay TV packages. Sports channel ESPN, Disney's biggest network, has lost subscribers at the same time its programming costs are rising.
To navigate the changes, Disney plans to launch its own online offerings. The company said in August it was pulling its new movie releases from Netflix Inc starting in 2019 to create its own streaming service centered around family entertainment. A sports-related service is planned for 2018.
Disney also held talks in recent weeks about buying some of Twenty-First Century Fox's film and TV businesses, according to media reports, which could bring Disney more content to compete with Netflix and others.
In addition, Disney's board is searching for a chief executive to succeed Bob Iger, who has said he plans to retire from the company in July 2019.
Disney's movie business generated revenue of $1.4 billion in the quarter, down about 21 percent and missing analysts' average estimate of $1.61 billion. Broadcast revenue of $1.51 billion missed Wall Street's target of $1.69 million, and Disney's theme parks posted revenue of $4.67 billion, just missing expectations of $4.70 billion.
Disney's total revenue fell to $12.78 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30 from $13.14 billion a year earlier.
Net income attributable to the company declined to $1.75 billion from $1.77 billion.
Excluding items, it earned $1.07 per share.
Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.13 per share and revenue to rise to $13.23 billion.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Lisa Shumaker)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)