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Q3-16: Affiliate & Advertising revenues prop 21st Century Fox revenue 5.7 percent

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BENGALURU:  Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. ( 21st Century Fox) reported 5.7 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in adjusted total revenue (revenue) for its third quarter ended 31 March 2016 (Q3-16, current quarter). 21st Century Fox reported revenue of $7,228 million in the current quarter as compared to $6,840 million in the corresponding year ago quarter. This revenue growth reflects higher affiliate and advertising revenues at both the Cable Network Programming and Television segments partially offset by lower television production revenues at the Filmed Entertainment segment. The adverse impact of foreign exchange rates in the current quarter impacted revenue growth by $204 million, or 3 percent in total.

Affiliates fees in Q3-16 increased 7.3 percent y-o-y to $2,939 million as compared to $2,740 million. Advertising revenue in the current quarter increased 3.6 percent to $1,907 million as compared to $1,840 million in the corresponding year ago quarter. Content revenue in Q3-16 increased 4.5 percent y-o-y to $2,288 million to $2,189 million. ‘Other’ revenue in Q3-16 increased 32.4 percent y-o-y to $94 million from $71 million.

Quarterly total segment operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) of $1,881 million increased $204 million, or 12.2 percent, from the $1,677 million of quarterly OIBDA reported in the prior year. The increase principally reflects double digit OIBDA growth at each of the company’s Filmed Entertainment and Cable Network Programming segments partially offset by lower contributions from the Television segment. The adverse impact of foreign exchange rates impacted OIBDA growth by $110 million, or 7 percent.

21st Century Fox reported quarterly income from continuing operations attributable to stockholders of $844 million ($0.44 per share), compared with $990 million ($0.47 per share) in the prior year. Excluding the net income effects of Other, net and gains and other adjustments related to Sky plc and Endemol Shine Group included in equity losses from affiliates, adjusted quarterly earnings per share from continuing operations attributable to stockholders was $0.47 compared with the adjusted year-ago result of $0.42.

21st Century Fox executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said: “We delivered significant revenue and earnings growth in the quarter on the strength of gains in affiliate and advertising revenues across our domestic and international cable portfolios as well as at our television segment. Whether it was Fox News outranking all of basic cable for the first time, FX delivering the year’s most watched new cable show with The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, or Star Sports remaking televised sports in India, the unique appeal of our industry leading brands and premium content has never been clearer. This strength extended to our film studio, which broke global box office records and expanded a global franchise with Deadpool, while delivering its second strongest quarterly earnings ever. The demonstrated value of our brands and our outstanding creative content will drive our businesses forward in both the existing and evolving media marketplace.”

Cable Networking Programming (CNP)

CNP revenue in Q3-16 increased 9.8 percent y-o-y to $3,941 million as compared to $3,590 million. Cable Network Programming quarterly segment OIBDA increased 11.5 percent to $1,375 million driven by a 10 percent revenue increase on higher affiliate revenues and low double digit advertising revenue growth, partially offset by a 9 percent increase in expenses.

Domestic affiliate revenue increased 7 percent reflecting sustained growth at FX Networks and FS1. Domestic advertising revenue grew 17 percent over the corresponding prior year quarter reflecting higher ratings and pricing at Fox News and a higher number of National Basketball Association games played in the current quarter at the Regional Sports Networks as well as the impact from the consolidation of the National Geographic non-channels businesses. Domestic OIBDA contributions increased 7 percent over the Q3-15 led by higher contributions from FS1, Fox News and FX Networks.

International affiliate revenue increased 6 percent driven by strong local currency growth at the Star India and Fox Networks Group International (FNG International) channels, formally known as Fox International Channels, or FIC, which was partially offset by a negative 14 percent impact from the strengthened US dollar. International advertising revenue increased 6 percent as local currency growth at the Star India and FNG International entertainment channels was partially offset by a negative 11 percent impact from the strengthened US dollar. Quarterly OIBDA at the international cable channels increased 67 percent reflecting strong growth at the Star India channels due to both higher affiliate and advertising revenues at the entertainment channels and lower rights costs at the sports channels due to the absence of the prior year broadcast of the ICC Cricket World Cup.

Television

Television revenue increased 5 percent y-o-y in Q3-16 to $1,298 million from $1,237 million in Q3-15. Television generated quarterly segment OIBDA in Q3-16 of $125 million, a $16 million decrease from the $141 million reported in Q3-15. Quarterly segment revenues were 5 percent higher than in Q1-15 due to strong retransmission consent revenue growth and higher advertising revenues led by higher political spending at the TV stations. The decrease in segment OIBDA was driven by higher contractual sports programming costs at the Fox Broadcast Network that more than offset the higher revenues.

Filmed Entertainment

Filmed Entertainment segment reported a 2.8 percent y-o-y decline in revenue to $2,321 million in Q3-16 as compared to $2,389 million in Q1-15. Filmed Entertainment generated quarterly segment OIBDA of $470 million, an increase of $88 million, or 23 percent, from the $382 million reported in the same period a year-ago. The OIBDA increase was driven by higher contributions from the film studio, led by the record-breaking worldwide theatrical release of Deadpool, which has grossed over $760 million in worldwide box office to date and is the top grossing R-rated movie ever, partially offset by lower television production results reflecting the absence of the network delivery of Glee, which aired its final season on the Fox Broadcast Network last year. Q3-16 segment revenues decreased primarily reflecting lower worldwide home entertainment and television production revenues and a 3 percent negative impact from foreign exchange rate fluctuations, partially offset by higher worldwide theatrical revenues, led by the theatrical release of Deadpool. Foreign exchange fluctuations adversely impacted segment OIBDA growth by 13 percent.

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