Fox Records Higher Revenues, Credits Regional Sports Nets

While announcing higher-than-expected fiscal first-quarter revenues by 21st Century Fox, company executives would not discuss any details concerning a possible sale of assets to Walt Disney during its earnings phone call.

A recent report on CNBC said Fox was in talks with Disney to sell some of its media companies -- its movie/TV production studio, FX networks and possibly some global holdings.

Quarterly revenues at Fox rose 8% to $7 billion; net income was 4% higher to $855 million. Fox cable networks' revenues climbed 10% to $4.2 billion; filmed entertainment grew 3% to $2 billion; and Fox TV networks/stations were up 3% to $1.1 billion.

Fox's company-wide advertising revenues were 3% higher in the period, with regional sports channels a major performer.

The Fox broadcast network saw higher advertising revenue, but witnessed lower political advertising revenues at its TV stations.  

Cable network subscribers were essentially flat. This was a favorable result compared to many other cable network groups that have seen declines, and factors in deals from new digital pay TV providers such as YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, and others.



Fox gained 11% in cable network affiliate revenues, while Fox broadcast network saw revenue growth among "non-linear" ads and premium fees, which has been “offsetting declines in traditional linear advertising in entertainment programming,” according to Barton Crockett, media analyst at FBR & Co.

Digital advertising revenues improved 30% during the period.

Total earnings from other TV channels -- Sky (39% equity interest) and Hulu (30%) -- rose to $60 million during the quarter, from $35 million the previous year.

Equity earnings of $110 million at Sky were up from $97 million. Hulu witnessed a steeper net loss -- to $62 million from $39 million. Other interests posted $12 million in earnings versus a $23 million loss a year ago.

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