Sounds like the 21st Century Fox COO either hasn’t read, or was unpersuaded by, Anita Elberse’s new book Blockbusters. The Harvard Business School professor is generating a lot of buzz in media circles with her argument that entertainment companies — including movie studios — incur less risk when they bet on a few big-budget extravaganzas than they do when they spread cash across many smaller productions. But Chase Carey had a different take today at an earnings call with analysts when he was asked whether the industrywide growth in spending on tentpole films is a mere fad or a fundamental shift in studio strategies. “The minute you start believing that there are formulas for what kinds of films to make you’re putting yourself in a corner,” he says. “You look for great films. Some will be on the high end, some on the low, and some in the middle.”
Also in the call, Carey said that Fox’s broadcast business has been “mixed,” adding that “the ratings on a number of returning franchises have been below expectations.” He’s “excited” about Sleepy Hollow and said The X Factor “has been disappointing to date” but could be helped by the exposure it received during the World Series. “We still feel we’re on course to hit the targets we’ve got” for Fox’s programming.