21st Century Fox Cable Networks Post Gains

Sports costs spike ad gains at Fox broadcast network

21st Century Fox reported lower net earnings despite a strong performance by its stable of cable networks.

Third-quarter net income fell 14% to $841 million, or 44 cents a share, from $975 million, or 46 cents a share a year ago. Excluding special items, earnings from the company’s business segments were up 12%.

Revenues rose 6% to $7.23 billion.

Related: Time Warner Reports Higher Q1 Earnings

The results were in-line with Wall Street expectations.

“We delivered significant revenue and earnings growth in the quarter on the strength of gains in affiliate and advertising revenues across our domestic and international cable portfolios as well as at our television segment,” Executive Chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement. “The demonstrated value of our brands and our outstanding creative content will drive our businesses forward in both the existing and evolving media marketplace.”

Related: Super Bowl Keys 10% Q1 Rise in CBS Revenue

Operating income at the company’s cable network programming unit rose 12% to $1.38 billion. Revenues were up 10%, while expenses grew 9%

Domestic affiliate revenue increased 7% with growth from FX Networks and Fox Sports 1.

Related: Michael Regan Exiting 21st Century Fox

Domestic cable advertising revenue grew 17% because of higher ratings and pricing at Fox News and more NBA basketball games airing on the company’s regional sports networks.

Operating income rose at FS1, Fox News and FX in the U.S.

Related: Ed Henry Off Fox News Following Tabloid Story

21st Century Fox’s Television unit reported that operating income fell to $125 million from $141 million a year ago. Sports programming costs at the Fox Broadcast network was a contributor to the lower operating income.

TV revenues were 5% higher than a year ago because of strong retransmission revenue and higher advertising revenue. The ad gains were paced by political spending at the local TV stations.

21st Century Fox’s movie unit posted a 23% gain in operating income, thanks largely to the performance of the film Deadpool.