21st Century Fox Reports Lower Q4 Earnings

Income, ad revenue up at cable nets
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21st Century Fox reported lower fourth-quarter profits despite gains at its cable programming operations.

Net income fell 16% to $476 million, or 26 cents a share, from $567 million, or 30 cents a share. A year ago, the company had a tax benefit worth 7 cents a share.

Revenues rose 2% to $6.75 billion in the quarter.

Earnings were a hair above Wall Street forecasts, but revenues fell short.

Related: 21st Century in Talks With Ion to Operate Fox Affils

Operating income increased 19% to $1.44 billion at the company’s cable network programming unit. Revenue rose to $4.329 billion from $3.921 billion.

Domestic affiliate revenue rose 10% on increased rates at Fox News, the regional sports networks, FX and FS1.

Domestic advertising revenue was up 6% because of higher ratings at Fox News and increases at National Geographic Channel.

At Fox’s television unit, which includes the Fox Broadcasting Co., fourth-quarter operating income fell by $7 million to $137 million. Revenue dropped to $137 million from $144 million.

National and local advertising was down, offsetting gains in retransmission payments. Expenses were 3% lower because of lower entertainment programming costs.

21 Century Fox’s film unit lost $22 million, compared with $164 million in operating income a year ago.

“We delivered strong financial and operational momentum in fiscal 2017,” said Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, the company’s executive chairmen.

“The investment we have made in our video brands, and in programming that truly differentiates, is proving to be the right strategy. It is driving the value of our brand portfolio across both established and emerging distribution platforms and reflects our deep commitment to creative excellence across all of our entertainment production businesses. In addition, the outstanding performance of our live news and sports programming drove advertising growth for the year and continues to set our business apart. What we achieved in 2017 sets us up well for this year and beyond.”

(Photo via 401(K) 2012's FlickrImage taken on Feb. 21, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 9x16 aspect ratio.)

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