Cable Gains Boost News Corp. During Q1

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News Corp. reported Wednesday that its first-quarter earnings rose 36%, led by the performance of its cable networks.

Net income was $775 million, or 30 cents per share, compared to $571 million, or 22 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenues rose 3% to $7.4 billion from $7.2 billion.

"Our global cable network programming business continues to lead News Corporation's financial and operational momentum," said Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch in a statement. "With continued subscriber growth in new and established channels throughout the world, and a global advertising recovery, our domestic and international channels now account for 25% of our revenues, and uniquely position us for profitable expansion of these franchises in the years to come. At the same time, our Television segment enjoyed significant operating income growth compared to the first quarter a year ago as local ad markets continue to rebound."

Operating income for News Corp.'s cable network programming group rose to $659 million from $514 million thanks to a 17% increase in revenue. Operating income at the domestic cable channels was up 23%. Ad revenues at the domestic cable channels were up 16% and affiliate revenues were up 14%.

Sons of Anarchy

News Corp.'s Television segment's operating income rose to $105 million from $67 million as gains at its television station group offset lower income from Fox Broadcasting. Fox Broadcasting's results were lower despite higher ad revenues from NFL games because of higher program cancellation costs and higher promotional costs. At the stations, ad revenue was up by 22%, thanks in part to increased spending in the auto, telecommunications and financial sectors, plus a jump in political spending.

Twentieth Century Fox Television had higher syndication revenue from How I Met Your Mother and home entertainment sales from Glee, Sons of Anarchy and Modern Family.

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