21st Century Fox reports earnings: Murdoch’s comment

21st Century Fox: Rupert Murdoch says well positioned to meet demand for quality video

The Company reported total revenues of US$28.99 billion, a $2.88 billion decrease from prior year revenues of $31.87 billion. Excluding the net revenues from the Direct Broadcast Satellite Television (“DBS”) businesses, Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland AG, which were sold in November 2014 to Sky plc (“Sky”), in both years, adjusted revenues increased $890 million, or 3%, over the $26.06 billion of adjusted revenues in the prior year. This increase was primarily driven by double-digit revenue growth at the Cable Network Programming segment.

Commenting on the results, executive chairman Rupert Murdoch said:

“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. 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 appeal of our new sports rights resonated with consumers globally, whether it was STAR Sports in India setting new records with hundreds of millions of viewers for the ICC Cricket World Cup, or the more than 25 million viewers who watched the Women’s World Cup Final on FOX. Our film studio achieved outstanding critical and box-office success with a truly diverse range of films and we are proud of the creative excellence that earned it the most Academy Awards in the industry. Our company is well positioned for this time of opportunity in our industry. We will balance the utilisation of our strong balance sheet to drive growth. Today’s announcement of our new $5 billion buyback authorisation reflects our ongoing program to provide direct shareholder returns.”

Full year results by segment

•  Cable Network Programming
Cable Network Programming annual segment OIBDA increased 5% to $4.65 billion, driven by a 12% revenue increase led by continued strong affiliate revenue growth and higher advertising revenues. The revenue improvement was partially offset by a 16% increase in expenses, representing higher sports programming costs driven by the broadcasts of the ICC Cricket World Cup at STAR Sports, increased Major League Baseball and NASCAR rights costs at Fox Sports 1 (“FS1”), and higher professional team rights costs at the regional sports networks (“RSNs”) as well as increased entertainment programming costs at FX Networks. The segment OIBDA growth was adversely impacted by 5% from foreign exchange rate fluctuations, primarily in Latin America and Europe.

•  Television
Full year segment OIBDA of $718 million decreased $164 million or 19% versus the prior year. The decline principally reflects the absence of advertising revenue and OIBDA generated from the broadcast of the Super Bowl in the prior year. Excluding the impact of the Super Bowl in the prior year, segment revenues were consistent with the year ago as strong retransmission consent revenue growth was counterbalanced by a 6% decline in advertising revenues reflecting overall lower general entertainment ratings at the FOX Broadcast Network.

•  Filmed Entertainment
Full year segment OIBDA of $1.45 billion increased $87 million, or 6%, over prior year amounts reflecting higher film studio contributions partially offset by lower contributions from the television production businesses and the absence of full year contributions from Shine Group (“Shine”), which was contributed into the Endemol Shine Group joint venture in December 2014. The film studio’s growth was led by strong worldwide theatrical and home entertainment performance across a diverse set of releases, including Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Fault In Our Stars, Taken 3, Gone Girl, Kingsman: The Secret Service and The Maze Runner as well as the home entertainment performance of Rio 2. The film studio’s commercial and creative success was further highlighted by the all-time industry record it set of more than $5.5 billion in global box-office receipts for calendar 2014, as well as its industry leading 8 Academy Awards for Fox Searchlight, including Best Picture for Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). Segment OIBDA growth was also adversely impacted by 9% from foreign exchange rate fluctuations.

Source: 21st Century Fox

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