With its new emphasis on sports and news, 21st Century Fox showed a 15% gain in advertising revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018, thanks to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” for its broadcast network, and 6% more domestic cable advertising revenue from Fox News Channel.
Company-wide revenue was up 5.7% to $8.5 billion.
In addition, Fox gained 21% more in retrans affiliate fees from its broadcast operations -- its network and TV stations -- with a steadier increase of 8% for its U.S. cable networks, such as the Fox News Channel.
Total cable revenue was up 4% to $4.6 billion. Broadcast TV grew 19% to $2.2 billion. International cable networks’ overall revenue sank 5%, due to foreign currency issues.
Fox Television Network had two fewer World Series games during the period, which affected total advertising revenue versus a year ago. Fox TV stations helped boost total advertising sales, due to its strong political advertising revenues.
Filmed entertainment sank 4% to $2.2 billion, as a result of lower home entertainment and less TV syndication revenue.
Fox’s loss from its Hulu equity ownership widened to $115 million from $108 million.
Fox anticipated its $71.3 billion deal to sell about half its TV and film businesses to Walt Disney will close in the first half of the 2019 year.
Fox’s net income was $10.9 billion versus $1.9 billion in its previous fourth-quarter period due to the sale of its equity in European TV broadcaster Sky plc to Comcast Corp.
Mid-day Wednesday trading of Fox stock was virtually flat -- up 0.1% -- at $49.09.