21st Century Fox reported higher profits in its fiscal 2018 first quarter as its cable networks posted increased revenue and income, offsetting drops at its television unit.
Net income rose 4% to $855 million, or 46 cents a share, in the quarter from $821 million, or 44 cents a share, a year ago.
Revenue rose 8% to $7 billion.
Operating income at Fox’s Cable Network Programming division rose 9% to $1.51 billion. Domestic cable network operations were up 11%, with Fox News, FX Networks and the regional sports nets showing gains.
Related: Fox Says Sky Deal Won't Reduce Viewpoint Diversity
Revenue rose 10%, compared to an 11% increase in expenses. The higher expenses included costs for Big Ten football at FS1, baseball at the regional sports networks and soccer rights for Argentine football at FNG International.
Domestic affiliate revenue was up 11%.
Domestic advertising rose 3% with growth at the domestic sports channels.
Operating income at Fox’s television unit was down 36% to $122 million. Fox Broadcasting had higher costs for college football and NFL games.
Television revenues were up 3% because of higher retransmission payments and increases in sport advertising revenue. Ad revenues were down at the local stations because of a drop in political revenue.
21st Century Fox’s loss from its ownership in Hulu was $62 million, up from $39 million a year ago.
“The Company’s double-digit gains in affiliate revenues demonstrate our strength in the dynamic global market for distinctive video brands and content, across both established distributors and new entrants. We delivered top-line growth at all of our businesses, backed by stand-out storytelling, sports and news, as well as a product focus that will drive greater consumption and compelling opportunities for financial returns on our content investment. Our solid first quarter performance puts us on track to achieve our overall financial and operational objectives for this fiscal year," executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.
(Photo via Ervins Strauhmanis's Flickr. Image taken on Sept. 19, 2014 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 16x9 aspect ratio.)
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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