21st Century Fox 4Q Earnings Higher

Cable networks income flat
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21st Century Fox reported higher net income for its fiscal fourth quarter.

Net income rose to $567 million, or 30 cents a share, from $87 million, or 6 cents a share a year ago, when the company had costs associated with the sale of Sky and Endemol Shine Group. Segment operating income was $1.45 billion, compared to $1.54 billion a year ago.

Revenues rose 7% to $6.65 billion.

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"We delivered full-year revenue and earnings growth on the strength of gains in affiliate and advertising revenues despite considerable foreign exchange headwinds and difficult film comparisons," said executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch. "The value created by our multi-year investment in our content production and our global video brands is clear. Our brands are an indispensable part of any consumer offering, whether from a traditional distributor or a new entrant like Hulu's upcoming live and on-demand service, which will benefit greatly from Time Warner's investment and participation. The work we did this year bolsters our strong position in a world of growing demand and access to the premium content that consistently sets us apart."

In the fourth quarter, 21st Century Fox's cable network programming segment reported flat operating income despite a 10% increase in revenues. Revenues were up 10%, but expenses rose 15% as sports programming costs rose and political coverage costs increased at Fox News.

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Domestic affiliate revenue increased 6% reflecting pricing increases at FX Networks, FS1 and Fox News Channel. Domestic advertising revenue was up 13% caused by higher pricing at Fox News and FS1. Operating income from the domestic cable channels was up 7%.

21 Century Fox's television segment generated a 27% increase in operating income to $144 million. Revenues were up 5% thanks to higher retransmission consent revenues and a 9% entertainment ad sales increase at the Fox broadcast network that was offset by lower sports compared to a year ago when the network aired the Women's World Cup soccer tournament. Programming and marketing costs were up at Fox.

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Filmed entertainment earnings fell to $164 million from $269 million a year ago. Costs to release new summer films were higher, offsetting increases in revenue from movie and TV releases.

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