News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch said the programming giant was in negotiations with cable operators and DirecTV Inc. concerning carriage of its planned Fox Business Channel.
“We continue to negotiate with the major cable companies, as well as DirecTV,” Murdoch said on a conference call with analysts to discuss fiscal-second-quarter results. “We’re confident we’ll have enough subscribers to start it this year.”
Murdoch also said plans for a high-speed-data service for its DirecTV unit could be announced in the next few months.
“We’re working very hard on coming up with a plan for the United States,” Murdoch said. “I think [DirecTV chairman Chase] Carey will be ready with an announcement within the next couple of months.” He declined to elaborate on what type of service it would be.
For the quarter, News Corp. reported revenue of $6.7 billion (up 1.6%) and operating income of $920 million (down 4%) mainly because of a one-time charge of $99 million for redundant costs associated with its newspaper operations. Without that charge, operating income would have risen 7% in the quarter.
Cable networks continued their strong growth, with operating income up 15% to $262 million on revenue of $810 million (up 29.8%).