Disney cautiously moves further into online streaming with $1bn deal

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Walt Disney’s quarterly filing has beaten market expectations with a profit of $2.6bn - up from $2.5bn 12 months ago. Its total revenue climbed to $14.3bn - a 9% increase.

It cited box office success of Captain America: Civil WarThe Jungle Book andFinding Dory as key financial successes.

But the group's business interests go far beyond the silver screen. The performance of its sports network, ESPN has been keenly watched as subscription growth has struggled with more and more consumers 'cutting the cord' and abandoning costly TV subscriptions and scheduled programming.

Disney announced that it will launch an ESPN streaming service before the end of this year - but the network's marquee live events will not be available through this platform.

The media company has also invested $1bn in a 33% stake in video-streaming firm BAMTech. The firm is a spin-off from Major League baseball's media company.

It will develop ESPN's streaming platform. The company also worked with HBO in developing its online and mobile offerings.

Disney has said in the past that rolling out an aggressive streaming strategy would be premature, it is keeping faith in the cable TV market, for now at least. Operating profit from Disney's TV division remained flat.

Walt Disney Studios were the main contributor to the company's growth as they scored major big screen hits.

Its theme parks also performed strongly, with operating income of $994 - an 8% increase on last year. The company opened its $5.5bn Shanghai resort in mid-June.

Joseph Conroy, Newstalk.com 

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