Once The Belle, Disney Disappoints; Interactive Losses Grew

The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) brought in more than $9 billion in revenues last quarter but that number — and earnings — were lower than most analysts expected. The Disney Interactive Media Group, which has been going through an overhaul that includes strenuous cost cutting and layoffs, more than doubled its losses to $115 million from $55 million. Disney attributed WDIG’s $60 million drop in operating income to a $34 million accounting charge for last summer’s Playdom acquisition along with higher development costs for mobile and virtual worlds.

On the plus side, DIMG revenue is up 35 percent for the first six months of Disney’s fiscal year. Interactive is the smallest of Disney’s five segments, bringing in considerably less than the next smallest, Consumer Products.

On the corporate plus side, CEO Bob Iger told CBNC in a pre-earnings call interview that the company’s bullish on advertising, citing a 40 percent increase at ESPN for the BCS championship and a 20 percent boost without that. He also downplayed the potential impact of the NFL lockout on money machine ESPN, saying a strong slate of college games would help. Still, Disney’s shares were off about 2 percent in immediate after-hours trading.More to come.