21st Century Fox’s fiscal third-quarter revenues fell slightly to $7.42 billion, down 2% from $7.56 billion last year when the network aired Super Bowl LI.
The company said the fallout from the Super Bowl was partially offset by higher affiliate, syndication and advertising revenues at its cable network segment.
Despite the drop in revenues, income from continuing operations rose 8% to $876 million, up from $811 million one year ago.
“Our cable segment delivered its highest earnings ever in our fiscal third quarter, propelled by sustained double-digit gains in domestic affiliate revenues. Creatively, we are firing on all cylinders. Our stand-out programming continues to drive up the value of our video brands to distributors, as well as build our direct relationship with consumers, as we’re demonstrating with the successful inaugural season of Indian Premiere League on STAR Sports and Hotstar platforms. Our film studio delivered box office and awards momentum that we expect to continue with the upcoming release of Deadpool 2,” Executive Chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said in a joint statement.
Fox’s cable OIBDA rose 16% to $1.68 billion, thanks to a 10% revenue increase on higher affiliate, syndication and advertising revenues partially offset by a 6% increase in expenses. Expenses expanded due to the first year of sublicensed Big Ten rights and higher sports and entertainment programming costs at Fox Networks Group International.
Fox’s television segment reported OIBDA of $78 million, down from $112 million one year ago. The segment was hurt the most by the absence of advertising revenue from the broadcast of the Super Bowl last year but it also experienced declines from NFL postseason ratings and three fewer NFL broadcasts in the current quarter versus the prior year quarter. Those declines were enough to offset double-digit retransmission consent revenue growth and improved entertainment OIBDA contributions.