Disney Broadcast Income Skyrockets

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What a difference a fake plane crash and some Desperate Housewives can make.

According to Disney, operating income for its broadcasting sector was almost double in the fiscal year ended Oct. 1 over the year before, from $245 million in FY2004 to $464 million in 2005. Revenues were $5.95 billion in 2005 vs. $5.37 billion in FY 2004.

The sector, which includes the network and syndication divisions as well as stations, was primarily driven by higher ad rates for the network runs of Housewives and Lost (the plane crash reference above), as well as international sales of both shows and money from the syndication sales of My Wife and Kids.

The division was also in the black for the fourth quarter ($48 million), vs. a loss of $75 Million in fourth quarter 2004, when Desperate Housewives and Lost had been pre-priced in the ad market like new dramas, and not even procedurals at that, rather than the twin juggernauts they became. Revenues were $1.45 billion in 2005 vs. $1.17 billion in 2004.

The cable side continued to rock, with income up 21% for the year to $1.92 billion thanks to higher fees and ad rates at ESPN.

According to new accounting rules, ABC cut the value estimations on some of its FCC licenses by a total of $57 million. At press time the company had not yet returned a call providing information on which stations were worth less than originally valued, but a source said it was a handful of radio stations it had purchased subsequent to its merger with CapCities.

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