21st Century Fox reported lower profits in its fiscal third quarter as charges more than offset the revenue gains generated by broadcasting the Super Bowl.
Net income fell to $799 million, or 43 cents a share, from $841 million, or 44 cents a share.
Revenues rose 5% to $7.56 billion, boosted by Fox’s broadcast of the Super Bowl, plus higher affiliate revenues for its cable networks and television stations.
Operating income rose 5% to $1.45 billion at the company’s cable network programming segment. Fox News made a bigger contribution to operating income than a year ago.
Affiliate revenue rose 8%. Domestic advertising was flat, with gains at Fox News and FS1 offset by a decline at National Geographic Partners.
Television segment operating income rose 52% to $190 million, with 30% revenue growth, including a 39% jump in advertising revenues driven by Super Bowl LI, plus one additional NFL divisional playoff game. Entertainment ad sales were lower without American Idol on the network schedule.
“We delivered a quarter marked by operational momentum and strong domestic affiliate fee growth. We continue to demonstrate our ability to capture opportunities to grow distribution of our domestic portfolio of video brands, whether through established MVPD partners or new digital entrants such as Hulu’s recently launched live television service,” executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.
“Our proposed combination with Sky, which was recently approved unconditionally by the European Commission, will advance another of our strategic priorities, driving innovation for customers,” the Murdochs added. “We remain confident the proposed transaction will be approved by the end of the calendar year following a thorough review process.”
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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