Fox 3Q earnings top expectations

May 7, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. reported third-quarter earnings that topped analyst expectations as revenue grew thanks to higher advertising sales and a popular Super Bowl.

But its profits were tempered by higher expenses due to the launch of new channels including Fox Sports 1.

The media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch said Wednesday that net income in the quarter through March fell 63 percent to $1.05 billion, or 47 cents per share, from $2.85 billion, or $1.22 per share, a year earlier.

Last year’s results were skewed by a special gain of $2.1 billion from raising its stake in German satellite TV operator Sky Deutschland.

After adjustments that offset each other, the resulting 47 cents per share of earnings beat the 35 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $8.22 billion from $7.35 billion a year ago. Analysts were expecting revenue of $7.98 billion.

Pay TV revenue grew 11 percent to $3.15 billion as it earned more in fees from distributors and advertising revenue rose. Operating earnings also rose despite the rising expenses for channel launches.

Broadcast TV revenue rose 27 percent to $1.59 billion, thanks in part to the advertising bump from the Seahawks’ defeat of the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, the most watched TV show in U.S. history.

That, plus strong viewership of the NFL playoffs, more than offset a decline in audience ratings for the talent show, American Idol.

Movie studio revenue declined 3 percent to $2.28 billion, while revenue from its satellite TV business rose 16 percent to $1.53 billion.

Shares in New York-based Fox rose $1.13, or 3.5 percent, to $33.25 in after-hours trading following the release of results. Earlier, shares closed down 29 cents at $32.12 in the regular session.

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