Fox’s total revenues rise 2% despite lower TV ad income

Fox
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21st Century Fox’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 2% to $6.75 billion thanks in part to higher affiliate and advertising revenue at the company’s cable networks.

But that growth was offset somewhat by lower advertising revenues at Fox’s television segment. Revenues for the segment totaled about $1 billion, down from $1.04 billion a year ago.

“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,” said Fox's executive chairmen, Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, in a statement.

Fox television’s OIBDA of $137 million was down $7 million from the year-ago quarter due in part to lower national and local advertising revenues and lower general entertainment ratings. Those negatives were offset somewhat by higher retransmission consent revenues and helped by expenses that were 3% lower due to decreased entertainment programming costs.

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But cable networks revenue jumped to $4.33 billion, well up from $3.9 billion one year ago. The segment’s OIBDA rose 19% to $1.44 billion, thanks partly to 10% higher revenue from affiliate, content and advertising growth. However, expenses were higher due to Fox’s broadcast of the International Cricket Council Champions Trophy and higher programming and marketing costs at National Geographic.

Fox cable’s domestic affiliate revenue rose 10% due to higher pricing at Fox News, RSNs, FX Networks and FS1, and domestic advertising revenue rose 6% thanks to higher ratings at Fox News.

Overall, Fox’s quarterly income from continuing operations before income tax (expense) benefit reached $815 million, up $269 million from the year-ago quarter. Total segment OIBDA of $1.45 billion was mostly flat with last year, as higher contributions from the cable network programming segment were offset by lower contributions from the filmed entertainment and television segments.