Fox Corp. said profit in its fiscal first quarter fell due to comparisons with a sizable gain in the year-earlier period, even as revenue in the quarter was bolstered by advertising and distribution fees.
The owner of Fox News Channel, Fox Sports and the Fox broadcast network said net income attributable to shareholders in the period came to $701 million, or $1.21 a share, compared with $1.11 billion, or $1.83 a share in the year-earlier quarter. The figures were affected by the presence of a one-time payment from Walt Disney Co. a year earlier tied to its purchase of cable and studio assets previously owned by Fox.
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Revenue, meanwhile, rose 12% to $3.05 billion, compared with $2.72 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Fox cited ad spending on Tubi, its ad-supported streaming video hub; the return of sports after the coronavirus pandemic; upticks in fees from cable distributors; and higher revenue from its Fox Nation subscription service as factors in the increase.
“We have made a strong start to the 2022 fiscal year with broad-based operating momentum led by the return of a full slate of live events at Fox Sports, ratings leadership at Fox News and exceptional progress at Tubi,” said Lachlan Murdoch, Fox Corp’s CEO, in a statement. “As audiences migrate to live news, sports and streaming, it underscores the strategy and priorities that have defined our short history at Fox. We remain focused on bolstering our core brands and leveraging the unique assets that distinguish us to further propel growth and drive value for our shareholders.”
During a call with investors, Murdoch touted Fox’s intensifying focus on news, sports and streaming, the better to capture sizable live audience and advertisers who want to court them. As part of that plan, Fox Sports unveiled a six year rights deal with the Union of European Football Associations to show the UEFA European Championship, a pact that will make Fox Sports the home to more than 1,500 soccer matches starting in June of 2022. Murdoch said sports betting rights are part of the pact.
The executive also pointed to new ventures and milestones he felt could help the company grow. He predicted a new wave of political advertising dollars would flow as the nation moves toward the 2022 midterm elections and also sketched a vision for TMZ, the celebrity-news outlet previously owned by WarnerMedia. Murdoch said he expected TMZ content to be introduced across the company’s media portfolio in months to come.
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