Fox earnings hit by lower box office, one-time costs

GMT 00:30 2015 Thursday ,06 August

Arab Today, arab today Fox earnings hit by lower box office, one-time costs

Rupert Murdoch (R)
New York - AFP

Media-entertainment conglomerate 21st Century Fox on Wednesday reported a sharp drop in earnings amid weaker film revenues and one-time costs for television programming and pensions.

The company created by Rupert Murdoch and now mostly managed by his two sons reported net profit in the past quarter plunged 91 percent from a year ago to $87 million.

Fox also announced a $5 billion share buyback program, a move which aims to boost returns for its investors.

Revenues for the quarter ending June 30 dropped 26 percent to $6.2 billion, reflecting in part the company's divesting some of its satellite broadcast operations.

Film revenue were also lower however, due to an unfavorable comparison with last year when it had big box-office hits from its "X-Men" and "Rio" sequels.

"We made clear operational strides over the last year that will further position us to benefit from the strong and growing global demand for high quality video content," said Murdoch, who now holds the title of co-executive chairman with his eldest son Lachlan after handing the chief executive job to his son James.

"We delivered a solid financial performance, driven by sustained gains in affiliate fees, while we continued to invest in building our new channels Fox Sports 1, FXX and Star Sports."

The company recorded one-time charges of $800 million "related to programming inventory that will no longer be aired, contract termination costs for a cancelled Indian cricket tournament and the disposition of certain pension liabilities," a statement said.

Fox closed its fiscal year with a net profit of $8.3 billion, led by one-time gains from selling stakes in Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland. Those were integrated into a new group called Sky in which Fox holds a minority position.

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