Fox Reports Mixed June Quarter Results Helped By News Ratings

21st Century Fox just reported that it ended its fiscal year in June with a so-so quarter — with strength at Fox News outweighing the weak box office for Alien: Covenant. 

Shares are mostly unchanged in post market trading.

The numbers were affected by a $258 million tax expense vs a $60 million gain in the period last year. Factoring them in, net income at $476 million, was down about 16.1%, on revenues of $6.75 billion, up 1.5%.

Analysts thought revenues would be a little higher at $6.77 billion. Adjusted earnings at 36 cents a share were a penny ahead of expectations.

“The investment we have made in our video brands, and in programming that truly differentiates, is proving to be the right strategy,” Executive Chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch say in a statement. “It is driving the value of our brand portfolio across both established and emerging distribution platforms and reflects our deep commitment to creative excellence across all of our entertainment production businesses. In addition, the outstanding performance of our live news and sports programming drove advertising growth for the year and continues to set our business apart. What we achieved in 2017 sets us up well for this year and beyond.”

Cable network revenues rose 10.4% to $4.33 billion, with operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) up 18.7% to $1.44 billion.

Domestic affiliate revenue rose 10% with higher pricing across the board. Ad sales were up 6% which the company attributes to “higher ratings at Fox News and increases at National Geographic.”

The Fox network-driven Television unit had a tougher quarter with revenues down 3.7% to $1.0 billion and OIBDA down 4.9% to $137 million. Ad sales fell along with ratings, although retransmission consent revenues improved.

Filmed Entertainment also struggled as Alien: Covenant and Diary of a Wimpy Kid could not compete with last year’s X-Men and Independence Day. In addition, Fox had to record expenses for War For The Planet Of The Apes, although revenues came in after the quarter ended.

The result was an 11.5% drop in revenues to $1.8 billion with OIBDA dropping to a $22 million loss from a $164 million profit.

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