Thursday, August 10, 2017

21st Century Fox Revenue Misses, Profit Tops Estimates

Rupert Murdoch-controlled Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's quarterly profit edged past analysts' estimates, but revenue fell just short of expectations, hurt by the lack of box office hits from its movie studio.

According to Reuters, the media company, which is seeking regulatory approval to completely buy out Sky Plc, said revenue at its filmed entertainment division fell 11.5 percent to $1.80 billion in the fourth quarter.

Fox said the lower home entertainment revenue was due to the strong performance of superhero movie "Deadpool" in the year-ago quarter. The company's shares were roughly flat in after hours trading.

Fox reported fourth-quarter results as investors questioned whether it would gain British government approval for its $14.5 billion bid to buy the nearly 61 percent of UK-based pay-TV group Sky it does not own.

That deal is still under review by British regulators and is likely to be referred to the competition watchdog for a full investigation.

James Murdoch
Its approval has been met with a number of roadblocks, including British media secretary Karen Bradley's reservations that it gives the Murdoch family too much influence over the media.

James Murdoch CEO of Fox said on a post-earnings call that Fox was confident the deal would be approved, but more likely in the first half of 2018 than this year.

CNBC reports 21st Century Fox attributed revenue growth to higher cable network programming affiliate and advertising revenue, which it said was partially offset by lower filmed entertainment content revenue and lower television ad revenue.

Cable network programming revenue increased to $4.33 billion from $3.92 billion from the year-ago quarter. Television revenue decreased to $1 billion from $1.04 billion in the same period last year, and filmed entertainment revenue decreased to $1.80 billion from $2.04 billion.

Multiple companies yanked their ads from Fox News' prime-time slot in April amid sexual harassment allegations against the network's biggest star, Bill O'Reilly. Fox dropped O'Reilly later that month. Tucker Carlson took over O'Reilly's 8 p.m. Eastern time slot, replacing "The O'Reilly Factor" with "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

Last month, Fox News continued its streaks for most day viewers and prime-time viewers, TVNewser reported, citing Nielsen numbers. The network has been first in day viewers for 13 consecutive months and first in prime-time viewers for 187 straight months, TVNewser said.

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