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Despite Super Bowl Gains, 21st Century Fox Net Down

Despite a record breaking Super Bowl, 21st Century Fox reported lower net income in its third quarter because of costs related to sales and divestitures.

Net income was $1.053 billion, or 47 cents a share, down from $2.854 billion, or $1.22, a year ago,

Excluding special items, the company said its adjusted earnings per share were up 47% to 47 cents a share from 32 cents a year ago. And the company’s broadcast and cable properties posted sizable gains in the quarter.

Revenues rose 12% to $8.22 billion.

Largely because of the Super Bowl, 21st Century Fox’s Television segment reported operating income before depreciation and amortization of $288 million, up 32%. Revenue was up 27% with advertising revenue up 30% thanks to the broadcast of the Super Bowl. Other NFL playoff games also had higher rates and ratings, while entertainment ad revenues were down because of lower ratings, particularly at American Idol.

21st Century Fox’s Cable Network Programming group generated a 10% increase in operating income to $1.18 billion. The increase was led by affiliate revenue growth, but offset by a 12% increase in expenses. Most of the increase in expenses was caused by the launch of new channels including Fox Sports 1, Star Sports and FXX.

Operating income for the domestic cable channels was up 13%.

Domestic cable affiliate revenue rose 12%.

Domestic cable advertising revenue rose 8%, driven by growth at FX Networks, Fox News Channel and the regional sports networks. FX’s ad sales growth was helped by the launch of FXX, the company said.

“We delivered strong results in the fiscal third quarter with double-digit revenue and earnings growth led by sustained gains in affiliate fees at our cable networks. The sizeable audiences of our live television events, led by the most watched Super Bowl in history, underscore the value of our investments in live sports programming, both in the US and internationally,” CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. “This quarter’s continued solid operational and financial performance demonstrates the global leadership of our businesses and the long-term value we are creating for our shareholders.”