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Fox International Channels CEO Hernan Lopez Confident to Exceed Growth Targets

FOX Logo Border - H 2012

The News Corp. unit's operating profit is expected to at least hit $1 billion in fiscal year 2015.

The head of News Corp.'s Fox International Channels unit said Thursday that he is confident it can exceed its target of an operating profit of $1 billion in fiscal year 2015.

Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2012 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, FIC president and CEO Hernan Lopez said his unit in the latest fiscal year 2012 made $600 million in operating income and had 240 million unique subscribers.

Asked about FIC's key goals for the current fiscal year, Lopez said he wants the division to be the biggest sports business outside the U.S. in terms of profitability.

Discussing Latin America, he said his business' channels draw higher pan-regional ratings than Walt Disney's ESPN. He also said he believes FIC's revenue to be higher, with profitability in Spanish-language Latin America also higher.

In Asia, Lopez said he is bullish on a recent deal that will see News Corp. buying out a joint venture with ESPN to strengthen its presence further. Asked about the likely future branding of what is now the ESPN Star Sports venture and its various channels, he said he likes the Fox Sports, Star and ESPN brands, but didn't have further comment.

Lopez also predicted growth for MundoFox, the Spanish-language U.S. broadcast network that FIC is doing in a joint venture with Colombian broadcaster RCN.

He said it would break even in fiscal year 2016 break even with equity lossess of less than $75 million per partner before then.

Similar to the Univision-Televisa content partnership, both partners provide content to the network, Lopez said. That helps to lay off big part of the financial and content risk, he said. About 50 percent of the content is proven RCN programming, with the rest coming from News Corp.'s FIC, Fox and Shine Group, Lopez said.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.con
Twitter: @georgszalai