Skift Take

Universal will capitalize on the Harry Potter phenomenon for as long as possible by creating merchandise, new attractions, and events that keep visitors coming back year after year.

Harry Potter continues to work his magic for Comcast Corp.’s Universal Studios theme park unit.

The Philadelphia-based media company Tuesday reported a 38 percent increase in profits in the fourth quarter in its theme park division, driven in part by The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley, which opened in July in Orlando, Florida.

The attraction, an extension of an existing Potter-themed area that opened in 2010, had waits of more than seven hours on opening day. The theme-park unit’s revenue rose 30 percent to $735 million in the fourth quarter. Operating cash flow before depreciation and amortization increased to $352 million from $257 million a year earlier.

“Investments in our theme parks are clearly generating strong returns as we drive increased attendance and per capita spending,” Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis said on a conference call. “We are transforming our parks into must-see destinations and are very enthusiastic about their potential.”

The results are part of a wave of amusement park investments that have lifted profits and attendance at operators including Walt Disney Co.

Comcast has an attraction based on Harry Potter, one of the most popular youth book and film franchises in history, scheduled to open at its Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in California next year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at [email protected] Andrew Pollack, John Lear.

This article was written by Christopher Palmeri from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Tags: earnings, theme parks, universal orlando

Photo credit: A giant Butterbeer cart keg. The Conmunity / Flickr