Fox’s stock price dropped 4.6% in post-market trading after it delivered weaker than expected revenues in the last three months of 2015 — and told analysts in its quarterly earnings call that it would have to reduce its financial guidance for the remainder of the fiscal year that ends in June.
CEO James Murdoch lamented the “disappointing results” in the film business in the year-end quarter, as well as the hit to overseas earnings as local currencies lose value in relationship to the U.S. dollar. Execs expect that to continue.
But Murdoch says that he doesn’t want to compensate by slashing costs. “We think shareholder value is better built through long-term investment,” he says.
He added that he’s “pretty confident in the overall slate in the film business” which includes upcoming releases Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse.
He talked up Hulu as “an important platform for us” as Fox seeks to balance its commitment to the online platform with the needs of traditional cable and satellite companies.
Murdoch also seems unfazed by reports of pay TV cord cutting, or growing interest in skinny bundles which have fewer channels — as well as lower prices — than the standard expanded basic package. The company’s cable channels reached “two important, large affiliate agreements in the last quarter.”
He added that Fox did not try to raise its rates by lowering the minimum number of subscribers it wants cable or satellite companies to guarantee. The new deals made “no material change” in in distribution requirements.
Meanwhile he sees a “clear turnaround underway” at the Fox network, especially when viewing on digital platforms is mixed with conventional TV. The network’s 30-day multiplatform viewing is up by mid single digits, he says.
The company is “focused on new advertising and packaging options” to cash in on the viewing on different platforms.
Although Fox is making big investments in sports “we’re happy with where we are” with the NFL — even though its Thursday Night Football deal went to NBC and CBS.