Revenue came in at $3.21 billion, up a smidgen from $3.19 billion in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted earnings per share were $1.09, down from $1.21 a year ago. Both the top and bottom line slightly exceeded Wall Street analysts’ consensus forecasts, but Fox shares slipped 2% in pre-market trading due to some less-than-upbeat aspects of the quarterly report.
Affiliate fee revenues increased 2%, driven by 8% growth at the Television segment. Advertising revenues decreased 2%. The broadcast of the Women’s World Cup and continued growth at Tubi were more than offset by comparably lower political advertising revenues at the company’s local station division and the impact of elevated supply in the direct response marketplace at Fox News Media.
Although 2023 is an odd-year lull, industry analysts and top ad sellers are expecting a record haul for political ad spending in 2024 due to the presidential race.
While in some respects it has been business as usual for Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, it has undeniably entered a new phase since the 92-year-old mogul stepped down in September as chairman of Fox and News Corp. The complicated lines of succession have created a cloud of uncertainty over the decades-old media business mainstay.
The Cable Network Programming unit reported quarterly revenues of $1.39 billion as compared to the $1.43 billion reported in the prior year quarter. Segment EBITDA fell to $607 million from $742 million in the prior-year quarter. The company blamed higher expenses, primarily due to higher sports programming rights amortization and production costs driven by the broadcast of the Women’s World Cup.