Fox Corporation said that profit in in the first quarter of its fiscal 2020 fell, even as the fees it collects from cable and satellite operators helped buoy the period.
The New York owner of Fox News Channel and the Fox broadcasting network said Wednesday that net income attributable to stockholders for the quarter ended Sept. 30 fell to $499 million, or 80 cents per share, compared with $604 million, or 97 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose 5% to $2.67 billion, compared with $2.54 billion in the year-earlier period.
The company has become more reliant on a smaller stable of assets since it sold its cable and studio properties to Walt Disney Company. But Fox said its TV outlets performed well in at least one major area, with affiliate revenue growing 4%. Advertising revenue, however, fell 2% in the period.
Fox demonstrated its growing reliance on sports rights, noting that the absence of a small handful FIFA World Cup games and UFC matches in the period accounted for a decrease of $10 million in advertising revenue at its cable division, and a dip in political advertising and fewer World Cup games spurred a dip of $12 million at its broadcast-TV operations.
Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman at the company, said in a prepared statement that the company’s investment in new sports and competition properties were helping its operations. “We’ve seen our programming investments in the Fox Network deliver ratings growth, including The Masked Singer, WWE Friday Night Smackdown, Thursday Night Football and the NFL on Fox” he said. “At the same time, we have successfully renewed distribution agreements with many of our largest partners that reflect the strength of our brands.”