You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

21st Century Fox Quarterly Profit Beats Wall Street Projections

Quarterly revenue dropped sharply at 21st Century Fox during the first three months of 2015, as the company faced tough comparisons with a fiscal period that included the Super Bowl and the sale of its television businesses in Italy and Germany.

The results were humdrum, sending the company’s stock down slightly in after-hours trading. Hits like “Empire” and the final season of “Glee” generated excitement among viewers, but came with higher programming costs that cut into profits at Fox’s broadcast division. The company always faced an uphill battle given that unlike last year, it did not broadcast the most recent Super Bowl, missing out on the advertising sales that accompany the game.

Revenue for the period ending in March fell 17% to $6.8 billion, down from $8.2 billion in the prior-year quarter. Excluding the sales of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland AG to BSkyB, the revenue picture grows brighter, increasing $84 million or 1% over the $6.8 billion of adjusted revenue.

Profits at the media conglomerate remained essentially flat at 46 cents a share, while net income dropped 2.9% to roughly $1 billion from $1.1 billion.

Revenues were in line with Wall Street’s projections, although profits exceeded expectations. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were predicting profits of 39 cents per share on revenue $6.9 billion.

Cable revenues increased 13.9% to $3.6 billion on higher affiliate fees, while filmed entertainment revenues rose 4.8% to $2.4 billion on the strength of hits such as “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and “Taken 3.” Television revenues fell more steeply, dropping 22.1% to $1.2 billion, which Fox attributed to the loss of the Super Bowl, falling ratings and a 7% decline in ad sales.

The health of Fox’s broadcast network bubbled up repeatedly during the company’s earnings call with analysts on Wednesday, with Fox chief operating officer Chase Carey acknowledging that the network had struggled to find new hits to replace fading giants like “American Idol.”

Calling the network both the “shining light” and the “pyramid” of Fox’s other businesses, Carey told analysts and investors, “we need to continue to have the backbone to invest to drive that business to what it can be.”

Carey acknowledged that digital forms of distribution are complicating the ways that older forms of media make money from advertising, but said he was confident that working more closely with Madison Avenue would enable Fox and others to find better ways to reach consumers.

“This is a time to prioritize long-term gains over short term pain,” he said, adding at another point, “as the world evolves, we have to adjust to it.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'Joker' Cinematographer Lawrence Sher Wins at

    'Joker' Cinematographer Lawrence Sher Wins at Camerimage Film Festival

    “Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher’s bid, along with director Todd Phillips, to try something “perhaps even a bit artful” won big Saturday in Torun, Poland as he took the top prize at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival. The Golden Frog for cinematography, along with the audience prize, went to his work filming Joaquin Phoenix in the [...]

  • Roberto Schaefer

    Netflix Image Enhancement Rules Take Cinematographers by Surprise

    A Netflix requirement that cinematographers capture films in HDR, or high dynamic range, has taken many by surprise, filmmakers say, but those at the 27th EnergaCamerimage festival in Poland seem increasingly accepting of the change. DP Roberto Schaefer, whose “Red Sea Diving Resort” screened at the cinematography fest in the historic city of Torun, said [...]

  • Lech Majewski and Josh Hartnett

    Lech Majewski on ‘Valley of the Gods,’ Navaho Mythology, Josh Hartnett, Keir Dullea

    TORUN, Poland – In his latest work, “The Valley of the Gods,” director Lech Majewski explores the ancient mythology of a downtrodden people and the absurd wealth of the world’s richest man in a surreal vision of modern America. The film screened at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival as part of special showcase honoring Majewski, [...]

  • The Red Sea Diving Resort

    Cinematographer Roberto Schaefer on Gideon Raff's Thriller ‘The Red Sea Diving Resort’

    TORUN, Poland – While Gideon Raff’s Netflix thriller “The Red Sea Diving Resort” shot largely in South Africa and Namibia, the project was a welcomed opportunity for cinematographer Roberto Schaefer due to his own memorable travels through Ethiopia. The film, which screened in the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival’s Contemporary World Cinema section, is loosely based [...]

  • Film director and scriptwriter Vojtech Jasny

    Vojtech Jasny, Award-Winning Czech Filmmaker, Dies at 93

    Czech filmmaker Vojtech Jasny, director of “All My Good Countrymen,” which won the best director prize at Cannes in 1969, has died. He was 93. According to the Associated Press, Slovacke divadlo, a theatre he frequently visited, said that Jasny died Friday, and a family representative confirmed his death to the CTK news agency. Jasny [...]

  • Noelle Anna Kendrick

    Film Review: 'Noelle' on Disney Plus

    What do you get when you toss together Christmas cheer, Christmas kitsch, a fish-out-of-the-North-Pole setup swiped from “Elf,” and a plot that turns on whether Kris Kringle’s daughter, played as a perky naïf by Anna Kendrick, has what it takes to step into her dad’s snow boots? You get a plastic icicle like “Noelle,” Long [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content