The Rupert Murdoch-controlled media-entertainment group 21st Century Fox says its latest quarterly results were boosted by a widely watched Super Bowl and other sports and cable programming.
Profits in the past quarter fell 63 per cent from a year earlier to $US1.05 billion ($A1.14 billion), reflecting comparison to last year’s results which had a one-time gain of $US2.1 billion linked to the company’s acquisition of a controlling stake in satellite operator Sky Deutschland.
Operating income before depreciation and amortisation rose 14 per cent to $1.79 billion for the three months to March 31 and revenues grew 12 per cent to $8.22 billion for the period, topping market forecasts.
“We delivered strong results in the fiscal third quarter with double-digit revenue and earnings growth led by sustained gains in affiliate fees at our cable networks,” Mr Murdoch, who is chairman and chief executive of the unit formed by the split of his NewsCorp empire, said.
“The sizeable audiences of our live television events, led by the most watched Super Bowl in history, underscore the value of our investments in live sports programming, both in the US and internationally. This quarter’s continued solid operational and financial performance demonstrates the global leadership of our businesses and the long-term value we are creating for our shareholders.”
Television revenues jumped 32 per cent and advertising revenues grew 30 per cent from the prior year, driven by the broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.
The company also saw cable network programming revenues up 10 per cent, and filmed entertainment rising six per cent.
Revenues were helped by the sale of transmission rights of hit series such as 24 to Amazon, and the theatrical release of Rio 2 in April, which has grossed nearly $US400 million in box office said.
In after-hours trade, Fox shares rose 3.5 per cent to $US33.25 on the news. The stock will cease trading on the Australian Securities Exchange at the close of trade today and will trade in the US market only following the delisting.