Sports Helps Fox Report Profit in Second Quarter

Fox sign outside of News Corp. building in New York
(Image credit: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fox Corp. swung to a profit in its fiscal second quarter on a strong showing from its sports properties, while shedding losses from Thursday Night Football

Net income in the quarter was $313 million, or 58 cents a share. A year ago the company reported a net loss of $85 million, or 15 cents a share. A year ago, the company had an equity loss of $211 million connected to its Flutter investment.

Revenues rose 4% to  $4.61 billion. 

Advertising revenue increased 4% to $2.5 billion, with gains coming from the FIFA World Cup and strong NFL results at Fox Sports. There were also higher political advertising revenues at the Fox Television Stations and growth at Tubi. The gains were partially offset by the absence of Thursday Night Football, which moved to Amazon Prime Video.

Affiliate-fee revenues increased 1%, with 6% growth at the Television segment. 

Also: Fox Sees Super Bowl Sunday Generating $600 Million in Ad Revenue

“A compelling fall sports schedule, combined with an active midterm political news cycle, showcased the power and relevance of the Fox platform in our fiscal second quarter,” CEO Lachlan Murdoch said. “Whether measured in terms of engagement, monetization or profitability, our focused strategy of live news and sports programming, coupled with our growing digital initiatives, continues to deliver. Today’s announcement to increase our share repurchase authorization and our intention to immediately deploy a meaningful amount of capital in an accelerated share repurchase transaction reflects the confidence we have in our strategy, the quality of our assets and the strength of our financial position.”

Fox Television segment’s EBITDA was $256 million following a loss of $273 million a year ago. The company said expenses in the quarter were lower in the quarter with the removal of Thursday Night Football.

Revenue rose to $2.93 billion from $2.76 billion, with ad revenue growing 5%  to $2.05 billion from $1.95 billion.

Fox’s cable-network programming segment EBITDA fell to $353 million from $668 million a year ago. The company cited expenses increased because of the World Cup, higher legal costs stemming from lawsuits and digital investments at Fox News Media.

Affiliate fees fell by $13 million to $1.03 billion because of subscriber declines. Ad revenues dipped to $451 million from $454 million. 

The company announced that it was increasing its share-buyback plan by $3 billion. ■

Jon Lafayette

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.