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News Corp. Profit Soars in Latest Quarter

Nov 8, 2006  •  Post A Comment

News Corp. on Wednesday reported $843 million in profit for the quarter ended Sept. 30, helped by double-digit increases from its Fox regional sports networks and the FX cable channel and at Fox Broadcasting and the Fox TV stations group.

In the same quarter 2005, News Corp. lost $433 million.

Its film division losses were enough to drag News Corp.’s operating income for the quarter down to $851 million, off 6 percent from $909 million earned in the same quarter 2005.

The earnings report showed cable network operating income at $249 million, up 26 percent on affiliate and advertising growth at the sports networks and FX. Fox News, which has struggled with ratings erosion, remains the No. 1 cable news network and is beginning to triple its cable subscriber fees as it renews carriage agreements.

Advertising growth at Fox Broadcasting and the Fox-owned stations group helped boost TV operating income to $192 million, up 20 percent from $160 million a year ago. That growth was partly offset, News Corp. said, by the launch of MyNetworkTV to fill the prime-time hole left by the death of UPN, which was collapsed with The WB into The CW.

Fox network operating income increased 65 percent year to year as a result of higher ad revenues and lower prime-time programming costs.

Fox Television Stations grew 7 percent as a result of increased political ad revenue and a larger prime-time market share along with improvements in local news performance. The ad revenue increases were partly offset by costs associated with the local news expansion and the redesign of local stations’ Web sites, including the offer of Fox on Demand.

The film division’s operating income sank to $239 million from $368 million a year ago.

“The operational momentum we exhibited throughout our record fiscal 2006 continued during the first quarter of fiscal 2007,” News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said.