21st Century Fox reported total quarterly revenues of $7.23 billion in the first quarter, a 6-percent gain from the prior-year period, with higher affiliate and advertising revenues at both the cable network programming and television segments.
Quarterly total segment operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) of $1.88 billion increased 12 percent. The company reported quarterly income from continuing operations attributable to stockholders of $844 million, down from the $990 million in the prior year.
Executive Chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said: “We delivered significant revenue and earnings growth in the quarter on the strength of gains in affiliate and advertising revenues across our domestic and international cable portfolios as well as at our television segment. Whether it was Fox News outranking all of basic cable for the first time, FX delivering the year’s most watched new cable show with The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, or STAR Sports remaking televised sports in India, the unique appeal of our industry-leading brands and premium content has never been clearer. This strength extended to our film studio, which broke global box-office records and expanded a global franchise with Deadpool, while delivering its second strongest quarterly earnings ever. The demonstrated value of our brands and our outstanding creative content will drive our businesses forward in both the existing and evolving media marketplace.”
Cable network programming quarterly segment OIBDA increased 12 percent to $1.38 billion, driven by a 10-percent revenue increase on higher affiliate revenues and low-double-digit advertising revenue growth, partially offset by a 9-percent increase in expenses. The increase in expenses was largely due to higher entertainment programming and marketing costs at FX Networks and higher political coverage costs at Fox News, partially offset by lower sports rights costs at STAR India due to the absence of the prior-year broadcast of the ICC Cricket World Cup. Domestic affiliate revenue increased 7 percent, ad sales 17 percent and OIBDA contributions increased 7 percent. International affiliate revenue increased 6 percent, advertising revenue increased 6 percent and quarterly OIBDA at the international cable channels increased 67 percent.
Television generated quarterly segment OIBDA of $125 million, down from the $141 million reported in the prior-year quarter. Quarterly segment revenues were 5-percent higher, due to strong retransmission consent revenue growth and higher advertising revenues, led by higher political spending at the TV stations. The decrease in segment OIBDA was attributed to higher contractual sports programming costs at the FOX Broadcast Network that more than offset the higher revenues.
Filmed entertainment delivered quarterly segment OIBDA of $470 million, up 23 percent. The OIBDA increase was driven by higher contributions from the film studio, led by the worldwide theatrical release of Deadpool. This was partially offset by lower television production results reflecting the absence of the network delivery of Glee. Quarterly segment revenues decreased by $68 million to $2.32 billion, primarily reflecting lower worldwide home entertainment and television production revenues and a 3-percent negative impact from foreign exchange rate fluctuations, partially offset by higher worldwide theatrical revenues, led again by Deadpool.