Fox Television’s fiscal third-quarter earnings increased dramatically thanks to higher advertising and retransmission content revenues.
The segment reported OIBDA of $190 million, up 52% from the year-ago quarter thanks to 30% revenue growth. Quarterly advertising revenues grew 39% on the benefit of this year’s broadcast of Super Bowl LI and an extra National Football League divisional playoff game
Those highlights helped fight off the impact from lower general entertainment ratings, which Fox is particularly feeling after the end of “American Idol.” While the Super Bowl and extra playoff game helped drive more ad revenue, they also resulted in higher sports programming costs.
Fox’s cable network segment saw its OIBDA rise 5% to $1.45 billion and its revenue rise 2% to $4.02 billion. Expenses stayed mostly flat as Fox spent more on entertainment programming and marketing at FX Networks and National Geographic Channels, and spent more for NASCAR and NBA rights but spent less on ICC Cricket sports rights at STAR India. Domestic affiliate rose 8% thanks to rate increases for Fox News, FS1, the RSNs and FX Networks, but domestic advertising revenue was flat.
“We delivered a quarter marked by operational momentum and strong domestic affiliate fee growth,” said Executive Chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch in a statement. “We continue to demonstrate our ability to capture opportunities to grow distribution of our domestic portfolio of video brands, whether through established MVPD partners or new digital entrants such as Hulu’s recently launched live television service. We made progress in the quarter against our key strategic priorities, exemplified by our creative successes across screens, from theatrical releases Logan and Hidden Figures to new FX debuts of Legion, Feud and Taboo. Our proposed combination with Sky, which was recently approved unconditionally by the European Commission, will advance another of our strategic priorities, driving innovation for customers. We remain confident the proposed transaction will be approved by the end of the calendar year following a thorough review process.”