Fox Reports Lower Earnings for 4th Quarter

Fox Corp. reported lower earnings in its fiscal fourth quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic cut into advertising revenues.

Net income fell to $122 million, or 20 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, from $454 million, or 73 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenues fell 4% to $2.51 billion.

Advertising revenues were down 22%. The company blamed lower local advertising at its TV stations, fewer live sports games and fewer hours of scripted programming at Fox Entertainment. Local advertising was down 35% at the stations, while Fox News ad revenues were up.

Distribution revenues were up 8%, led by Fox’s television segment.

At Fox’s cable networks, EBITDA rose 12% to $674 million from $602 million. Revenue slipped 2% to $1.27 billion from $1.3 billion. Earnings were up because of lower programming rights and production costs. 

Television EBITDA fell 21% to $169 million from $214 million a year ago. Revenue fell 6% to $1.11 billion. Ad revenues were down 29% to $184 million, despite the contributions from Tubi, which was acquired earlier this year. Affiliate revenues were up 22% thanks to increased fees from Fox affiliates and higher average rates from distributors.

“Fox delivered strong results for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year, even in spite of the unprecedented environment in which we all continue to operate, underscoring the strength of our brands and content offering,” said CEO Lachlan Murdoch. “We continue to expand the way audiences interact and connect with our brands while simultaneously diversifying and enhancing our revenue base. We entered the COVID-19 crisis on sound operational and financial footing and we expect to emerge from this pandemic more competitive, more focused and even more strongly positioned to deliver value for our viewers, partners and shareholders in the years ahead.” 

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.