Television

Fox: Filmed Entertainment, Cable Network shine, Television segments dull Q4 results

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BENGALURU: Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (Fox, the company) reported financial results for the three months (Q4-2014, current quarter) and full year ended 30 June 2014 (FY-2014). While the company’s Television and Direct Broadcast Satellite Television (DBST) segments reported lower y-o-y Q4-2014 operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) in Q4-2014, its Cable Networking Programming (CNP) and Filmed Entertainment (FE) segment’s OIBDA grew. For FY-2014, all the segments reported revenue and OIBDA growth.

Fox reported 16.8 per cent growth in overall revenue in Q4-2014 at $8424 million as compared to the $7212 million in Q4-2013 (quarter ended 30 June 2013 or year ago quarter). The company’s OIBDA for Q4-2014 at $1766 million was 18.7 per cent more than the $1488 million in Q4-2013.

For FY-2014, the company reported 15.1 per cent growth in overall revenue to $31867 million from $27675 in FY-2013 (year ended 30 June 2013). OIBDA for FY-2014 at $6715 million was 7.3 per cent more than the $6261 in FY-2013.

Let us look at the segment results reported by the company for Q4-2014 and FY-2014

Cable Network Programming

Fox’s CNP segment reported 13.3 per cent higher revenue in Q4-2014 at $3347 million (39.7 per cent of all revenue) as compared to the $2953 million (40.9 per cent of all revenue) reported for the year ago quarter. Q4-2014 OIBDA at $1202 million (68.1 per cent of all OIBDA) was 11.4 per cent higher than the $1079 million (72.5 per cent of all OIBDA) reported for Q4-2013.

For FY-2014, CNP segment reported 12.8 per cent growth in revenue to $12273 million (38.5 per cent of all revenue) from $10881 million (39.3 per cent of all revenue). OIBDA for FY-2014 at $4407 million (65.6 per cent of all OIBDA) grew 5.5 per cent from $4177 million (66.7 per cent of all OIBDA).

Fox says that this segment’s Q4-2014 OIBDA increase was driven by a 13 per cent revenue increase led by continued affiliate revenue growth. The revenue improvement was partially offset by a 14 per cent increase in expenses, approximately a third of which reflects the planned investments related to the launches of new channels, including Fox Sports 1, Star Sports and FXX, and the consolidation of the Yes Network.

Full year CNP annual segment OIBDA increase was driven by a 13 per cent revenue increase led by continued affiliate revenue growth. The revenue improvement was partially offset by a 17per cent increase in expenses, almost half of which reflects the planned investments related to the launches of new channels and the impact of the consolidation of recently acquired ownership stakes in the Yes Network, ESS, Eredivisie Media & Marketing CV (EMM) and Sports Time Ohio.  

The company says that segment OIBDA growth was also adversely impacted by 3 per cent from foreign exchange rate fluctuations, primarily in Latin America and India during Q4-2014 as well as FY-2014.

Television

Fox’s Television segment reported lower revenue as well as OIBDA for Q4-2014 as increased retransmission consent revenues were more than offset by lower advertising revenues. Quarterly advertising  revenues declined 11 per cent from the corresponding period of the prior year driven by the impact of lower general entertainment  ratings, led by declines at American Idol says the company.

For Q4-2014, the Television segment reported 5.9 per cent lower revenue at $1031 million (12.2 per cent of all revenue) as compared to the $1096 million (15.2 per cent of all revenue) in Q4-2013. The segment’s Q4-2014 OIBDA at $145 million (8.2 per cent of all OIBDA) was 31.9 per cent lower than the $213 million (14.3 per cent of all OIBDA).

In FY-2014, Fox’s Television segment reported 9 per cent higher revenue at $5296 million (16.6 per cent of all revenue) as compared to the $4860 million (17.6 per cent of all revenue). The segment’s OIBDA for FY-2014 at $882 million (13.1 per cent of all OIBDA) was 3.2 per cent higher than the $855 million (13.7 per cent of all OIBDA) in FY-2013.

Fox says that this increase was driven by continued retransmission consent revenue growth and contributions from the broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII partially offset by the impact of lower primetime general entertainment ratings led by declines at American Idol and X-Factor and higher programming costs. Advertising revenues increased 5 per cent from the prior year driven by the broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII and higher rates and ratings for the National Football League and Major League Baseball playoffs, substantially offset by the impact from lower general entertainment ratings.

Filmed Entertainment

The Filmed Entertainment (FE) segment reported 37.7 per cent growth in revenue in Q4-2014 at $2803 million (33.3 per cent of all revenue) as compared to the $2035 million (28.2 per cent of all revenue) in Q4-2013.

FE reported Q4-2014 segment OIBDA of $339 million (19.2 per cent of all OIBDA), nearly triple (2.9 times) the $117 million (7.9 per cent of all OIBDA) reported in the same period a year-ago, driven by a $768 million or 37.7 per cent revenue increase. The company says that this growth was led by several successful worldwide theatrical releases in the quarter including X-Men: Days of Future Past, which has grossed $740 million in worldwide box office to date, Rio 2, which has grossed over $90 million in worldwide box office to date, and The Fault in Our Stars, which has grossed over $260 million in worldwide box office to date. As a result of the successful releases, the company claims that the film studio became the first to cross the $3 billion mark in worldwide box office this year. Quarterly results also reflect higher contribution from the television production businesses led by the syndication of Modern Family and the delivery of a new season of 24 adds to the company.

For FY-2014, FE revenue at $9679 million (30.4 per cent of all revenue) increased 12 per cent from $8642 million (31.2 per cent of all revenue) in FY-2013.Full year FE segment OIBDA of $1358 billion (20.2 per cent of all OIBDA) increased $50 million or 3.8 per cent over prior year amounts. The company says that the annual results reflect higher contributions from the television production businesses led by higher SVOD revenues, including the sale of series to Amazon, and the syndication of Modern Family. This growth was partially offset by difficult comparisons to the successful worldwide theatrical performance of Ice Age: Continental Drift in the prior year.

Direct Broadcast Satellite Television (DBST)

Fox’s DBST segment reported 15.5 per cent growth in Q4-2014 revenue to $1593 million (18.9 per cent of all revenue) from $1379 million (19.1 per cent of all revenue).

DBST generated quarterly segment OIBDA of $146million (8.3 per cent of all OIBDA) compared with the $156 million (10.5 per cent of all OIBDA) reported in the same period a year ago.

The company says that the $214 million or 15.5 per cent increase in revenue underpinned by sustained Sky Deutschland subscriber growth was more than offset by higher sports programming costs including Sky Italia’s broadcast of the FIFA World Cup and Sky Deutschland’s exclusive broadcast of Bundesliga soccer. Sky Deutschland grew net direct subscribers by approximately 82,000 during the quarter, bringing total direct subscribers to 3.81 million, while Sky Italia’s subscriber base declined by 25,000 during the quarter bringing total subscribers to 4.73 million.

For FY-2014, the DBST segment’s revenue at $6030 million (18.9 per cent of all revenue) was 35.8 per cent more than the $4439 million (16 per cent of all revenue) in FY-2013. DBST generated annual segment OIBDA of $424 million (6.3 per cent of all OIBDA), a $27 million or 6.8 per cent increase over the prior year driven by higher contributions from Sky Italia resulting from cost reduction efforts. Annual segment revenues increased principally reflecting the full year consolidation of Sky Deutschland revenues versus the consolidation of six-months of Sky Deutschland revenues in the prior year. This revenue increase was offset by the full year consolidation of Sky Deutschland costs, including costs related to its exclusive broadcast of Bundesliga soccer.

BskyB and other affiliates

Quarterly equity earnings from affiliates were $192 million as compared to with $223 million in Q4-2013. Annual earnings from affiliates were $622 million as compared to the $655 million in FY-2014. The decreased contributions from affiliates mainly reflect lower contributions from BskyB, says the company.

Commenting on the results, 21st Century Fox chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said: “In the fiscal fourth quarter we built on our operational momentum with double-digit earnings and revenue gains. The Company’s strong financial performance was driven by sustained affiliate revenue increases at our cable networks and record fourth quarter contributions at our filmed entertainment segment on the strength of global box office successes XMen: Days of Future Past, Rio 2 and The Fault In Our Stars. As we close the fiscal year, I continue to have confidence in our ability to execute our growth plan and drive value for our shareholders. Our new $6 billion share buyback programme, to be executed over the next 12 months, further underscores our disciplined approach to increasing shareholder value.”

Click here to read the full earnings report

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