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IPL powers 21st Century Fox's international ad revenue

21CF tops estimates in Q4 earning

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MUMBAI: At a point when Rupert Murdoch’s media empire 21st Century Fox is preparing to sell the bulk of its film and TV assets to Walt Disney Co (Disney), its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings beat analysts' expectations. The conglomerate’s total revenue was up 18 per cent from $6.7bn to $7.9bn in the April-June quarter thanks to the higher content revenues at the Filmed Entertainment segment and higher affiliate and advertising revenues at the Cable Network Programming and Television segments.

Talking about the international revenue, Indian Premier League’s (IPL) contribution was mentioned. “Star India secured Indian Premier League’s global media and digital broadcast rights and, aided by the inaugural broadcast of the IPL, further penetration of its Hotstar platform and continued general entertainment growth, nearly doubled its profit contributions year over year,” the company said in a release. International advertising revenue which increased 55 per cent was led by the broadcast of the IPL at Star.

While analysts were expecting 54 cents in per-share earnings on $7.55 billion in revenue, it earned 57 cents per share after certain items on $7.94 billion in revenue. Though the stock was unchanged following the release, shares of Fox have surged 62 per cent in the past 12 months in last one year.

“As we move closer to combining our businesses with Disney and establishing new “Fox”, we are convinced that the paths we are creating for our iconic businesses will drive enduring and growing value for our shareholders,” executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch commented after the result. Lachlan Murdoch reiterated that news and live sports will underpin the profile of the new Fox in a call with analysts.

The cash-and-stock transaction which is predicted to be closed in the first half of next year is awaiting the green light from more than a dozen countries, including China, Russia and regulators from the European Union, after winning approval from US regulators. Fox will retain its TV stations, Fox Business, Fox News and its sports channels after the sell.

In such scenario, the three segments cable network programming, filmed entertainment, television boosted their revenue, and the first two improved their operating income too. The filmed entertainment unit which saw revenue jump some 27 per cent to $2.3 billion, the surge was driven largely by the success of Deadpool 2. Revenue from the cable division rose 13.8 per cent and accounted for more than half of overall revenue.

Fox is still now locked in a bidding war with Comcast over the 61 per cent of Sky it does not currently own. While Comcast’s current offer is higher than Fox’s offering, it still has 46 days to revise its offer.

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