TV operations boost Disney third quarter financial results

The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), in the midst of serious and increasingly rancorous retransmission consent negotiations with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) for its broadcast and cable stations, is surging financially thanks in no small part to the same TV properties it wants to sell to TWC.

According to third quarter results, Disney's largest business, Media Networks, posted a 19 percent revenue increase to bring in $4.7 billion. Cable networks themselves recorded 28 percent growth and $3.3 billion in revenue. Ominously, at least for cable operators like TWC, broadcasting gains were only 4 percent so it can be reasonably expected Disney wants more for those properties when carried on cable systems.

Disney CEO Bob Iger called out the cable segment for its financial contributions, noting that "ESPN had a fantastic quarter creatively and commercially." ESPN, of course, is a bargaining chip in the retransmission fight.

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