Fox Cable Income Up 47%

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Operating income for News Corp.'s cable-network-programming sector was up 47% to $196 million on revenues of $630 million in the first quarter of its 2005 fiscal year (which actually ended Sept.30, 2004), the company said in releasing its latest financial numbers.

News Corp. reports its financials according to Australian accounting principles. That will change next quarter, however, with the company's move this month to the U.S.

That cable sector growth was driven by ad rate bumps at Fox News Channel and FX and affiliate revenue growth at its regional sports nets, according to the company. FX's Nip/Tuck and Rescue Me were singled out for their ratings success and increased ad dollars.

On the broadcast side, the Fox network lost $35 million less than last year thanks to double-digit income growth attributed to higher ad prices and lower program costs, offset somewhat by a 12% decline in ratings and the lack of the Emmy awards, which aired in the comparable 2004 quarter.Owned TV stations income was up slightly thanks to lower programming costs and the addition of local newscasts in some markets. Neither the Fox Broadcasting or stations numbers were broken out.

Total television income, which includes the international STAR TV in China and India, were up 30% to $233 million on revenues of $1.004 billion.

On the production side, the filmed entertainment sector came in at $285 million for the quarter, or down about 13% from $328 million for the same period last year.

News Corp. attributed that difference primarily to the boost in first quarter FY2004 income from the syndicated releases of Angel and Judging Amy, as well as continued contributions from syndication workhorse, M*A*S*H.

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