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Disney’s Bob Iger warns of too many pilots ahead of upfronts

Disney chief executive Bob Iger has warned of the pitfalls of producing too many TV pilots ahead of its May upfront season as its US network ABC, run by former ABC Family boss Paul Lee, looks to replace hit shows like Lost.

“In development, it’s not about volume, it’s about quality,” he said. “There’s been a trend at times in the business to fill slots and to just make a lot of pilots. I don’t think that’s wise, particularly in a time that’s really competitive for talent.”

The Walt Disney Company reported a 54% increase in profits in its latest financial quarter, thanks in part due to subscriber growth and improved advertising conditions for its bouquets of international channels.

The company, which operates global networks including kids channel the Disney Channel and sports broadcaster ESPN as well as US network ABC, saw revenues for its channels increase 11% to US$4.6 billion with operating income increasing 47% to US$1.1 billion.

“Higher operating income at the Disney Channels was due to increased affiliate and advertising revenue. Affiliate revenue growth reflected contractual rate increases domestically and subscriber growth internationally. Higher advertising revenue was driven by improved rates
internationally,” the company noted in a statement.