The collection of more money in fees helped News Corporation grow both its cable and television segments, overcoming a relatively weak advertising environment. Publishing was weak, period, but it will soon be off on its own.
Overall, the company earned $9.54B during its fiscal Q3, a 15% increase over its comparable quarter a year prior.
Cable network programming, television and filmed entertainment were all positive operating income contributors, while publishing fell from $130M to $85M. Cable improved from $846M to $993M; TV from $171M to $196M; and film from $272M to $289M.
The 17% gain at cable was attributed to regional sports operations and increased affiliation fees. Advertising revenue was up only 2%.
Television’s 15% growth rate was fueled by increased retransmission consent income. NC said advertising was actually a red ink item, in large part attributable to ratings declines at its aging American Idol franchise.
Chairman Rupert Murdoch commented, “In our fiscal third quarter News Corp. achieved organic growth across our cable, film and television segments and, through the consolidation of Sky Deutschland and sale of stakes in SKY New Zealand and Phoenix Satellite Television, we advanced our strategic agenda to simplify our global portfolio. We also announced our plans to broaden our core cable business with the unveiling of our national sports channel Fox Sports 1 and our third branded FX channel, FXX. Both initiatives underscore our strategy of maximizing existing assets and leadership positions to drive sustainable growth and long-term value.”
Looking ahead, Murdoch concluded, “We are on target to complete the proposed separation of our businesses near the end of our fiscal year. As we prepare to launch two new industry leaders with new News Corporation and 21st Century Fox, I am more confident than ever of the long-term value the separation will unlock for the Company and its shareholders.”