Powered in part by its introduction of a raunchy, R-rated superhero, 21st Century Fox reported better than expected quarterly earnings Wednesday.
The media conglomerate’s 44-cents-a-share Third Quarter earnings topped analysts’ consensus estimate of 39 cents, but fell short of the 47 cents mark of last year.
Revenues also exceeded estimates, hitting $7.23 billion — compared to a projected $6.9 billion — and 6% ahead of the $6.84 billion for the same quarter in 2015.
The company attributed the gains in affiliate and advertising revenues in both its cable network programming and its television units. There was some drag from the impact of the strong dollar overseas — an estimated $204 million hit to revenues, or 3% of the total.
The company pegged “Deadpool” as one bright spot. The February release that broke superhero convention, with a raunchy, R-rated take on a lesser known figure from the Marvel comic universe. (One in the few in that category, also, outside the control of Disney’s Marvel Entertainment.) The Ryan Reynolds vehicle has hauled in $761 million worldwide, on a production budget of just $58 million and given hope that studios other than Disney can cash in on the comic book genre.”
It also cited the diversity of its TV operations for the success — with everything from FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” to expanded television sports offerings in India helping to increase revenues.
“We delivered significant revenue and earnings growth in the quarter on the strength of gains in affiliate and advertising revenues across our domestic and international cable portfolios as well as at our television segment, ” said executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch in a joint statement. They mentioned the diverse TV offerings and “our film studio, which broke global box office records and expanded a global franchise with ‘Deadpool,’ while delivering its second strongest quarterly earnings ever.”
21st Century Fox shares have declined more than 20% since the start of the year, closing Wednesday at $29.80.