Biz Briefs

Nov 10, 2003  •  Post A Comment

News Corp. last week said it posted a 160 percent surge in fiscal first-quarter profit to $422 million, or 29 cents per American Depository Receipt, from $162 million, or 12 cents per ADR, a year ago. The increase was fueled by hearty DVD sales of television shows and robust results for cable channels FX and Fox News Channel. Revenue for the three-month period ended Sept. 30 climbed 22 percent to $4.6 billion. The results were linked to strong performance at 20th Century Fox Television, which racked up higher syndication profits from initial releases of the series “Angel” and “Judging Amy” as well as higher DVD sales for series such as “24” and “The Simpsons.” The company’s cable networks recorded a 14 percent jump in revenue to $596 million on a 23 percent increase in profit to $102 million, driven by strong ad sales growth at Fox News Channel and subscriber additions at the regional sports networks. Fox Television Stations overcame a decline in political advertising spending to record a 1 percent increase in revenue and a 6 percent rise in profit to $221 million, largely through gains in market share. The Fox Network posted a widened loss for the quarter to $41 million, from year-earlier red ink of $8 million, due to a 20 percent decline in prime-time ratings, write-downs associated with the cancellation of two series and the absence of “American Idol” from the lineup. Revenues fell 7 percent to $394 million.
Mediacom Posts 3rd-Quarter Profit
Growth in the number of subscribers using its high-speed data service helped cable operator Mediacom Communications swing to a third-quarter profit, even in the face of stiffening competition from satellite. The Middletown, N.Y.-based operator of cable systems in small and midsize markets reported a third-quarter profit of $1.9 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with red ink of $39.9 million, or 33 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue climbed more than 7 percent to $251.1 million, while operating income before depreciation and amortization climbed 4 percent to $101.1 million. Much of the improvement resulted from Mediacom’s addition of new digital cable and high-speed data customers. High-speed data subscribers climbed 27,000 to 261,000 during the quarter, while the company added 8,000 digital cable customers to reach 393,000 subs.