Fox Reports Lower Net as Revenue Grows

Cable ad revenues up 10%
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21st Century Fox reported lower earnings in its fiscal first quarter because of a variety of one time charges, but revenues showed strong growth, particularly at its cable networks.

Net income was $1.04 billion, or 47 cents a share, down from $1.26 billion, or 54 cents a share a year ago.

The company said income from continuing operations attributable to stockholders of $1.04 billion up from $768 million after various transactions are taken out of the mix. Those figures exceded Wall Street expectations.

Revenues rose 12% to $8.26 billion.

Controlled by Rupert Murdoch, 21st Century Fox attempted to buy Time Warner for $85 billion over the summer but was rebuffed.

“Our strong earnings and revenue growth in the quarter were driven by continued momentum at our Cable Network Programming and Filmed Entertainment segments,” Murdoch said in a statement. “Additionally, we continued our focus on driving long-term value through our planned investments in a number of our growing brands, most notably our new channels FXX, Fox Sports 1 and STAR Sports.”  

Operating income at 21st Century Fox’s cable network programming segment rose 5% to $1.04 billion. Revenues rose 15% to $3.23 billion, but expenses were up 21%, mostly because of investments in the new sports channels.

Domestic affiliate revenue rose 18%. Domestic ad revenues grew 10%, with gains coming from FX Networks, Fox News Channel and the consolidation of YES Network.

Operating income at the television segment fell to $174 million from $231 million a year ago. Retransmission revenue growth was offset by a 5% decline in advertising revenues, mainly coming from lower ratings at the Fox Broadcast network.

In a recent research note, analyst Vasily Karasyov lowered his profit forecast for 21st television segment and its cable network programming business. “We think the ’14-’15 broadcast seasons will be challenging for the network and we don’t think improvement is likely until next fall,” Karasyov said.

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