Fox Reports Higher Profit, Revenue in Quarter

Gains at cable nets offset broadcast declines

21st Century Fox reported higher profit in the September quarter as its cable networks posted increased revenue and income, offsetting drops at its television unit.

Net income rose 4% to $855 million, or 46 cents a share, in the quarter from $821 million, or 44 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 8% to $7 billion.

Operating income at Fox’s cable network programming division rose 9% to $1.51 billion. Domestic cable network operations were up 11%, with Fox News Channel, FX Networks and the regional sports networks showing gains.

The cable group's revenue rose 10%, compared with an 11% increase in expenses, including costs for Big Ten football at FS1, baseball at the regional sports networks and soccer rights for Argentine football at FNG International.

Domestic affiliate revenue was up 11%. Domestic advertising rose 3% with growth at the domestic sports channels.

Operating income at Fox’s television unit was down 36% to $122 million. Fox Broadcasting had higher costs for college football and NFL games.

Television revenue was up 3% because of higher retransmission payments and increased sport advertising revenue. Ad revenue was down at the local stations because of a drop in political revenue.

21st Century Fox’s loss from its ownership in Hulu was $62 million, up from $39 million a year ago

"The company’s double-digit gains in affiliate revenues demonstrate our strength in the dynamic global market for distinctive video brands and content, across both established distributors and new entrants," executive chairs Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement. "We delivered top-line growth at all of our businesses, backed by stand-out storytelling, sports and news, as well as a product focus that will drive greater consumption and compelling opportunities for financial returns on our content investment. Our solid first-quarter performance puts us on track to achieve our overall financial and operational objectives for this fiscal year."