'X Factor' U.S. Boosts Results at TV Unit of Simon Cowell, Sony Venture

 Jeff Lipsky / FOX

LONDON – Fox may have seen weaker ratings at The X Factor this season, but the show last year boosted the financials of the TV production business of Syco Entertainment, the joint venture of Simon Cowell and Sony that produces The X Factor and Got Talent formats.

Pre-tax earnings for its latest fiscal year ended in March rose thanks to higher U.S. contributions.

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The profit for the year rose 15 percent to $60.6 million (£37 million) thanks to a profit increase at The X Factor in the U.S. and higher international sales of America's Got Talent, the Guardian reported, citing a financial filing it obtained.

The X Factor U.S. has been hit by lower ratings in its current third season, but last year's season two seemed to benefit from higher revenue and lower costs that had affected the first season.

Overall, Syco's TV production business, known as Simco, reported fiscal-year revenue of $98.1 million (£59.9 million), up nearly 10 percent. U.S. revenue increased nearly 15 percent to $49.8 million (£30.4 million). That meant that U.S. revenue accounted for slightly more than 50 percent of Simco's total revenue, up from 42 percent in the previous year and only around 11 percent in the year before that.

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America's Got Talent now airs in 193 territories, which has also boosted revenue.

Syco Entertainment was formed in 2010 in a deal that got Cowell back a stake in TV formats from Sony. He had been forced to hand the rights over after Simon Fuller, the music guru behind reality TV hit format Idol, had brought a copyright infringement claim.

The Guardian reported that the latest financial document from Simco showed that while Sony at the time of the formation of the venture had shown no liabilities, or financial obligations, for Simco. But in March of this year, Sony Music Entertainment contributed $11.2 million (£6.84 million) to cover a liability that had arisen, the paper said.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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