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21st Century Fox on Wednesday reported quarterly income that about matched the expectations of analysts, posting $7.23 billion in revenue and 44 cents per share in profit from continuing operations. Adjusted for certain items, earnings rose to 47 cents.
Wall Street expected the conglomerate to earn 47 cents per share on just over $7 billion revenue.
The earnings were impressive enough to encourage investors to buy the stock after the closing bell, and shares surged 7 percent.
In its earnings release, the company boasted that Fox News outranked all of basic cable for the first time, while FX delivered the year’s most-watched new cable show with The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
On the strength of Deadpool, the Fox film studio delivered its second-strongest quarterly earnings ever, the company said.
The conglomerate, run by executive chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son, CEO James Murdoch, posted $3.9 billion in revenue at its largest segment, cable network programming, which was up from $3.6 billion a year ago. The gain was attributed to higher affiliate revenue and low double-digit advertising revenue growth.
Operating income for cable was $1.4 billion, up from $1.2 billion.
Filmed entertainment, the second-largest segment, recorded $2.3 billion in revenue, down from $2.4 billion, though operating income there increased from $382 million to $470 million. The positive effects of Deadpool, the top-grossing R-rated movie ever, were partially offset by the absence of the network delivery of the Fox TV show Glee.
The television segment saw revenue of $1.3 billion in the quarter, up from $1.2 billion last year, though operating income fell to $125 million from $141 million, with the decrease blamed on higher sports programming costs at the Fox broadcast network.
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