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21st Century Fox reports strong $8.5 bn Q2 revenue

Currency fluctuations at Star impacted certain areas.

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MUMBAI: 21st Century Fox (Fox) reported strong second-quarter earnings even at a time when Disney is all set to take over a major part of the Murdoch empire. The company reported total quarterly revenues of $8.5 billion matching analysts’ estimates. Fox also added that it anticipates the transactions regarding the acquisition by Disney closing in the first half of calendar 2019.

“This increase principally reflects higher affiliate revenues reported at the cable network programming and television segments and higher advertising revenue reported in the television segment partially offset by lower home entertainment revenue reported at the filmed entertainment segment. The impact of foreign exchange rates adversely impacted revenue growth by approximately $195 million, or 2 per cent in total,” the company commented in the earnings release.

Fox reported 4 per cent increase in its cable network programming revenue reaching to $4.562 billion. While the domestic cable revenue increased by 7 per cent, international cable revenue declined 5 per cent. 11 per cent local currency growth at FNG International and Star adversely impacted international affiliate revenue. While the company saw cable network programming expense increase 7 per cent to $1.45 billion from its local sports acquisitions, it was partially offset by lower cricket rights costs by Star.

“Reported international advertising revenue decreased 9 per cent as the adverse impact from the strengthened US dollar and lower local currency advertising revenue at FNG International more than offset local currency advertising growth at Star,” the release also added.

The film division, powered by Bohemian Rhapsody theatrical revenue and pay-TV fees for The Greatest Showman, reported a 47 per cent increase in operating income. Television revenues surged nearly 19 per cent to $2.148 billion but reported $22 million loss due to higher sports programming costs.

“Our company delivered another strong quarter of financial results, underpinned by distribution and advertising revenue increases at our domestic cable networks and broadcast businesses and the substantial gain on our sale of Sky. These results reflect our continued commitment to excellence in all aspects of our business. There has also been significant progress regarding the transaction with Disney and the spin-off of Fox Corporation including the effectiveness of the Form 10,” Fox executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch commented.

The $71.3 billion mega-deal with Disney still needs final regulatory approval as regulators in America continue to conduct their review. After the finalisation, Fox will be left with Fox broadcasting, Fox News, and a few other channels.

According to a report by MediaPost, the new Fox entity will be called Fox Entertainment and it will have a startup mentality. It will go beyond just TV or sports and news into newer avenues such as a content development accelerator.

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