Disney tops earnings estimates ahead of streaming launch

Disney CEO Robert Iger poses on the red carpet upon arriving for the European premiere of the film 'The Lion King,' which helped boost revenues for the entertainment giant in the past quarter

Walt Disney Co. on Thursday reported better-than-expected quarterly results, fueled by the release of blockbuster films "Aladdin" and "The Lion King" as it prepared for its new streaming television service.

Disney profit in the recently ended quarter was $1.05 billion, down from $2.3 billion a year ago, on revenue that grew 34 percent to $19.1 billion.

The slump in profits came as Disney absorbed key film and television operations of 21st Century Fox and geared up for its launch of the streaming service Disney+ that aims to compete globally against Netflix and others.

"We've spent the last few years completely transforming The Walt Disney Company to focus the resources and immense creativity across the entire company on delivering an extraordinary direct-to-consumer experience," said Disney chief executive Robert Iger.

"We're excited for the launch of Disney+ on November 12."

Iger said the company reached a deal for the service to be on Amazon's Fire TV platform, the latest distribution agreement for Disney+.

Revenues in the past quarter were boosted by a 52 percent rise in Disney's studio operations with box office hits "The Lion King," "Toy Story 4" and "Aladdin" fueling gains.

Disney has become the biggest Hollywood player with the acquisition of studio and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

The company saw smaller revenue gains in its cable and broadcasting operations as well as its theme park division.

Disney CEO Robert Iger poses on the red carpet upon arriving for the European premiere of the film 'The Lion King,' which helped boost revenues for the entertainment giant in the past quarter