Economy no match for Mickey

first_img“We’ve seen some challenges in distribution,” Staggs said. “We’re evaluating where we sit.” Disney dropped its ESPN-branded cell-phone service last year because it did not prove profitable. The company shifted the content developed for the service to Verizon Wireless.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BURBANK – Bookings at The Walt Disney Co.’s domestic theme parks aren’t reflecting a broader economic downturn, the company’s chief financial officer said Monday. Travel bookings in the current quarter are up compared with the same period last year, Thomas Staggs told investors gathered at the Merrill Lynch Media and Entertainment conference. “I’m not saying the parks are immune to the economy,” Staggs said. “But thus far, we’re not seeing any impact in the numbers.” International visits to the parks have still not recovered from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Staggs said. Those visits might be expected to increase because of the weak dollar, but difficulties in gaining travel visas to the United States are still having a negative impact, Staggs said. The Burbank-based company will likely increase capital spending to beef up its lagging second park in California, Staggs said. Disney’s California Adventure opened in 2001 next door to Disneyland and has been a disappointment to the company, which has steadily added attractions to the park. Disney is not likely to open any new parks in the United States in the foreseeable future, Staggs said. Advertising revenues for the media conglomerate’s ABC network shows are also strong and show no signs of broader problems in the economy, Staggs said. Disney is seriously examining its mobile-phone venture and will be deciding its future in the coming months, Staggs said. Staggs said the Disney-branded phone service, which uses Sprint Nextel Corp.’s network, has been successful in signing subscribers. But the business has had some difficulty growing quickly. last_img read more