Everyone knew that Fox ended 2016 strongly with help from an exciting 7-game World Series, and an even more exciting political season boosting news viewers and ads. But the financial numbers the company just released for its fiscal Q2 were not quite as impressive as investors hoped.
The result: Fox shares are down about 1.4% in post-market trading.
The entertainment giant generated net income of $856 million, up 27.4% vs the last three months of 2015, on revenues of $7.68 billion, up 4.2%. Analysts hoped the top line would hit $7.72 billion.
Adjusted earnings at 53 cents a share beat forecasts for 49 cents.
“We delivered a second consecutive quarter of double-digit earnings growth, driven by solid increases in affiliate and advertising revenues across cable and television,” Executive Chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement. “Our record-breaking post-season baseball run underscores the immense value of our sports programming, as well as the broader competitive advantage we have built through our other leadership positions in entertainment and news.”
They also talked up the planned acquisition of the 61% stake in Sky that Fox doesn’t already own. That “will generate significant adjusted earnings per share and free
cash flow accretion and it provides clarity on our near-term capital allocation priorities,” they say.
Fox’s Cable Network Programming unit, saw a 6% increase in operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) to $1.22 billion on revenues of $3.97 billion, up 7%. Domestic affiliate revenues improved 7%, while ad sales were up 12% with contributions from Fox News and FS1.
In the Fox network’s Television operation, OIBDA was up 35% to $376 million on revenues of $1.92 billion, up 12%.
And in Filmed Entertainment OIBDA improved 29% to $389 million even as revenues dipped 3.9% to $2.27 billion. The company says that it released fewer films than it did last year, reducing costs. That also cut theatrical revenues, which were “partly offset by higher television production revenues led by the subscription video-on-demand licensing of various titles.”