News Corp. Q1 profit up on 'Simpsons' pic


NEW YORK -- Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said Wednesday its quarterly operating profit rose 23% on strong boxoffice sales of "The Simpsons" and a rise in Fox News ad sales and affiliate revenue.

The company, which is waiting to close a deal to buy Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co Inc. in the fourth quarter, said fiscal first-quarter net income fell to $732 million, or 23 cents per share, from $843 million, or 27 cents per share, a year earlier, when it logged gains from the sale of stakes in the Sky Brasil satellite TV service and the Phoenix Chinese TV channel.

The company narrowly beat Wall Street expectations of a profit of 22 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Excluding items in both quarters, it recorded a quarterly operating profit of $1.05 billion, up from $851 million.

Revenue rose 19% to $7.1 billion, beating Wall Street expectations of $6.6 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Movies studio results led the quarter, with operating income jumping 51% to $362 million on strong box office from films like "Live Free or Die Hard," and DVD sales of "Eragon" and "Night at the Museum".

Ad sales and affiliate revenue at Fox News Channel boosted cable network operating income by 16% to $289 million. But that was offset by the costs of launching CNBC rival Fox Business Network and the Big Ten Network.

Satellite operator Sky Italia saw its revenue rise 11% to $48 million.