Disney shares slide despite Star Wars boost

Star Wars Image copyright Getty Images

Disney shares fell over 4% in after-hours trading despite rising profits, as the performance of ESPN raised concern about the company's outlook.

Quarterly profit reached $2.9bn (£2.0bn), up from $2.2bn last year.

But profits for Disney's cable networks fell by 5% as programming costs on the sports channel ESPN rose.

The bright spot was Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which helped to boost studio profits by 86%.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has brought in more than $2bn at the box office alone, and sales of merchandise helped boost profits in the company's consumer products section by 23%.

The slip in cable revenue took some of the wind out of Disney's earnings announcement.

Profits for Disney's media networks, which includes ESPN, ABC and the Disney Channel, fell to $1.4bn.

ESPN has seen its subscriber base fall in the last few years as more people turn to streaming services rather than cable television.

Star Wars boom

The Force Awakens has already become the third highest grossing film of all time since it was released in December.

It is the first Star Wars film that Disney has made since purchasing Lucasfilm from Star Wars creator George Lucas in 2012 for $4bn

Profits at Disney's theme parks rose 22% in the quarter, mostly driven by visitors in the US.

Visitors to Disneyland Paris fell 8% following the terrorist attacks on the city in November. The park was closed for three days following the attacks, but saw further cancellations from visitors in the following weeks.

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