Video, ad revenues boost News Corp's 4Q results

NEW YORK: Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has done well in the fourth quarter of 2002; thanks to video and DVD sales of its Oscar nominated animated feature Ice Age as well as stronger advertising revenues.

News Corp's net profit rose to $239 million in the second fiscal quarter, ended 31 December. There was a $606 million loss a year earlier, when the results included a $909 million sports contract write-down. News Corp expects current trends in advertising revenue growth to continue for the second fiscal half, but costs for Fox News will go up on account of the conflict in Iraq.

News Corp's filmed entertainment unit more than doubled its operating income to $255 million from $115 million a year ago, bolstered by strong video and DVD sales of Ice Age and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and higher syndication profits for TV shows such as King of the Hill and X-Files.

A Reuters report states that operating income at the company's television unit rose to $165 million from $113 million a year ago.

The Fox television network, produced a wider operating loss due to higher programming costs but chairman Rupert Murdoch predicted the network would benefit from the recent hit reality series American Idol II and Joe Millionaire. Operating income at New Corp's cable network programming unit, which includes the Fox News Channel, the FX Channel and Los Angeles Dodgers, hit $121 million from $60 million a year ago.

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