“We did not see the kind of rebound that we thought we’d see” in the current quarter, Disney‘s Jay Rasulo told the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference. That’s likely due to disappointing audience response to some of the company’s local and national TV programming. “We did not have great ratings over the summer,” Rasulo says. “It depressed expectations.” But he says this was a “very short-term phenomenon….We do not see that persisting” into the final three months of 2012. Indeed, he says the market “looks very very good.” His upbeat forecast jibes with other execs’ comments at the confab. For example, NBCUniversal’s Steve Burke today called national advertising and scatter prices “just fine” with few cancellations from the upfront market. “Car companies are coming back.”
In addition to the ad sales warning, Rasulo said Disney plans to take a $50M write-down, equal to about 2 cents in earnings per share, due to a discontinued project. (Last month, the company shut down production on director Henry Selick’s untiled stop-motion animation film.) ”That will be a short [fiscal] fourth-quarter impact.” Disney shares are up about 1% in mid-day trading, roughly in line with the overall market.