Twenty-First Century Fox's quarterly revenue beats Street

James Marshall
November 9, 2017

For the three months ending September 30, 21st Century Fox reported income from continuing operations attributable to stockholders of $839 million, or 45 cents a share, compared with $827 million, or 44 cents, a year earlier.

Lachlan Murdoch, Fox's executive co-chairman, opened the Wednesday's earnings call with investors by asserting that they would not comment on the bombshell report on Monday that Fox has held discussions with Disney about selling its film and TV studios and cable networks.

"There is a lot of talk about the growing importance of scale in the media industry", Mr. Murdoch said. Lachlan Murdoch added: "Historically we have always been asset builders". Revenue rose 8 percent, to $7 billion. The competition is increasing while audiences for traditional live TV viewing on platforms such as the Fox broadcast network continue to decline due to video streaming and the erosion of satellite and TV subscribers.

The company said it expects its $15-billion takeover of the stake in European TV service Sky it does not own will close by June 2018.

The conglomerate noted that the Fox News Channel, FX Networks and regional sports networks were particularly strong, and operating income in the segment rose to $1.5 billion from $1.4 billion past year.

After markets closed Wednesday, 21st Century Fox reported revenue of $7 billion and earnings of 49 cents a share for the three months ending September 30, which the entertainment conglomerate categorizes as its fiscal first quarter.

Fox said it has garnered nearly 3 million new subscribers for its cable channels from the new breed of digital MVPDs including Hulu (in which Fox has a stake) and YouTube.

Excluding items, Fox earned 49 cents per share, inline with market estimates. A higher number of college and NFL football games on the Fox broadcast network also drove up costs. And although NFL ratings are down as players protesting during the national anthem has dominated the news cycle and driven some fans away for the sport for political reasons, Fox - one of the league's primary broadcasters - hasn't suffered too much, with its broadcast revenue for the three months ended September 30 topping its performance for the same time past year.

The filmed entertainment segment grew revenue to $2 billion from $1.9 billion, but operating income fell to $256 million from $311 million. The subtext was clear: there's no need for a fire sale here.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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