Quarterly profit at 21st Century Fox came in at $1.84 billion, a 114 percent gain on the prior-year quarter.
The results for the three months ended December 31, 2017, includes a tax benefit of $1.34 billion. The company reported total quarterly revenues of $8.04 billion, a 5 percent increase from the same quarter a year ago. This increase was from higher affiliate, syndication and advertising revenues reported at the cable network programming segment, partially offset by lower revenues reported at the television segment.
Cable network programming quarterly segment OIBDA increased 3 percent compared to the prior year quarter to $1.37 billion, driven by an 11 percent revenue increase on higher affiliate, syndication and advertising revenues partially offset by a 15 percent increase in expenses. Domestic affiliate revenue increased 12 percent, while domestic advertising revenue decreased 3 percent. Domestic OIBDA contributions increased 1 percent, as higher contributions from Fox News were partially offset by lower contributions from the domestic sports networks and National Geographic. International affiliate revenue increased 13 percent, and international ad revenue increased 14 percent, thanks to double-digit growth at STAR and continued growth at Fox Networks Group International. International OIBDA contributions were 8 percent higher.
Television reported quarterly segment OIBDA was $56 million, down 85 percent compared to the prior-year quarter. Quarterly segment revenues were 6 percent lower, as higher retransmission consent revenue was more than offset by lower advertising revenues. The decrease in segment OIBDA was primarily driven by the lower revenues as well as higher contractual sports programming costs at FOX.
Filmed entertainment generated quarterly segment OIBDA of $131 million, a 66 percent decrease from the prior-year quarter. This was partly due to higher theatrical releasing costs, which more than offset higher theatrical revenues in the current quarter to support a release slate that included Murder on the Orient Express, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Post. Higher TV production contributions, seeing higher SVOD revenues, partially offset these higher expenses. Quarterly segment revenues of $2.25 billion were consistent with the year-ago figures, as higher TV production revenues offset lower film studio revenues, reflecting lower home entertainment and pay- and free-TV licensing revenues.
Executive Chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said: “We delivered another quarter of solid top-line revenue growth including the further acceleration of gains in global affiliate revenues and despite challenging revenue comparisons for our TV segment. Our results also reflect increased investment behind higher volumes of global sporting events as well as film releases from our studio, which led the industry in Golden Globe awards and Oscar nominations. Looking ahead, we are focused on continuing to deliver value to our shareholders through achieving our near-term growth plans, completing our proposed acquisition of the balance of Sky, obtaining the required approvals for the successful completion of our transaction with Disney and planning for the exciting launch of the new ‘Fox’.”