Fox Corp. witnessed a 5% gain in fourth-quarter revenues to $3.78 billion, much of it attributable to higher affiliate revenue, and to a lesser extent, advertising revenue.
Affiliate revenue was up 7% to $1.44 billion, while advertising revenue inched up 1% to reach $2.0 billion. Total television (broadcast) revenues grew 5% to $2.27 billion, with cable TV networks 2% higher to $1.47 billion.
Cable TV networks' affiliate revenue climbed 2% to $957 million, with advertising revenue declining 5% to $337 million. Cable TV network cash flow grew to $556 million from $519 million.
Fox said the decline in cable TV advertising revenue was due to “higher preemptions” from breaking news coverage at Fox News Channel/Fox Business -- as well as the absence of the Ultimate Fighting Championship content at sports network FS1. That event was aired in previous year’s fourth quarter.
During Fox's earnings phone call with analysts on Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer of Fox Lachlan Murdoch said Super Bowl Sunday pulled in the largest advertising revenue day in TV history -- $600 million of gross revenue, from Super Bowl pregame programming through reality show "The Masked Singer," which ran after the game.
Broadcasting TV networks/stations’ advertising revenue was up 2% to $1.67 billion, while affiliate revenue grew 18% to $479 million and other revenue was 6% higher to $114 million.
Higher sports and entertainment advertising revenues were witnessed at Fox Television Networks and its TV stations against lower political advertising revenues in the fourth quarter 2019. Political advertising witnessed record results due to the mid-elections in fourth quarter 2018.
But there were losses -- especially due to higher NFL programming costs and costs due to the launch of “WWE Friday Night SmackDown” on the Fox Television Network.
Broadcast cash flow -- the earnings before interest taxes, depreciation, and amortization -- widened to a negative cash flow of $214 million from a $14 million negative cash flow in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Fox Corp.'s stock price closed up 1.4% to $37.93 on Wednesday.