By Dade Hayes
Fox Corp. delivered a mix bag of financial results in its fiscal third quarter, with revenue exceeding Wall Street expectations but earnings falling short. The company also revealed a $30 million write-down on scripted programming.
The media company reported total revenue of $3.46 billion in the period ending March 31, up 7% from the same quarter a year ago. Analysts had been expecting $3.39 billion. Earnings came in at 81 cents a share, compared with forecasts for 88 cents.
Fox shares, already on the downswing in 2022, declined 5% in pre-market trading.
The company said its affiliate revenue rose 5% overall, up 8% in its Television division and 3% in Cable Network Programming.
Advertising revenues increased 9%, which the company said was due to stronger pricing and higher ratings at Fox News Media and continued growth at streaming service Tubi.
The “other revenue” category jumped 18% on sports sublicensing revenues in the cable unit, which faced Covid issues in the year-earllier period.
In the Television unit, revenue rose 7% to $1.82 billion. Advertising revenues gained 6%, with the improvement chalked up to momentum at Tubi, strong pricing at the Fox broadcast network and the impact of a 17th week of the NFL regular season. The extra NFL game helped make up for the absence of the rotating NFL divisional playoff game in the current quarter as well as what the company described as “softer entertainment ratings” at the broadcast network.
“Other” revenue increased 17% due to the impact of the consolidation of MarVista Entertainment, TMZ and Studio Ramsay Global.
EBITDA in Television declined to $35 million from $135 million a year ago, which the company blamed on higher expenses. The expense burden was due to greater investment in Tubi and higher programming rights amortization and production costs at Fox Sports, as well as a write-down of $30 million for “certain scripted programming” at Fox Entertainment.
“In the three years since the formation of Fox we have seen rapid industry change,” CEO Lachlan Murdoch said. “Our focused portfolio and clear strategy underpin our success today and continue to distinguish Fox from its peers. The power of our brands and the scaled audiences that they serve continue to provide a uniquely strong platform to strategically manage our businesses for long-term growth in a thoughtful and disciplined manner.”
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