Television and cable led the way with operating income gains in fiscal Q4 (April-June), although some other parts of News Corporation held the quarter to an operating income decline of $16 million. Revenues companywide were up 6% in the quarter to $8.11 billion.
Operating income for the television segment was up 13% to $113 million. The company cited improved advertising revenues for the Fox Television Stations, partially offset by higher programming costs for the Fox Broadcast Network.
Cable Network Programming segment operating income shot up 31% to $563 million, driven by a 30% improvement by the US channels and40% by the international cable channels. Ad revenue for the US channels was up 11% in the quarter, the company said.
In his quarterly conference call with analysts, News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch was bullish on the US television business, citing first the growing contribution of retransmission consent revenues. On the advertising side, he said the stations are “exploding in every category at the moment, except maybe beverages – in July alone we were up 44% in automotive and our pacings for the next two months, which may be a little bit heavy because people are now making their bookings earlier, but we’re talking an 80-90% in automotive – so it’s really very, very strong and we are increasing our share of the market for those local stations.”
Looking ahead for the entire company, CFO David DeVoe told analysts that News Corporation is expecting advertising to remain healthy and that both the cable and broadcast television businesses will continue to grow, while film will drop back from its strong performance. In all, operating income growth is expected to be in the low double digits.