1:28 PM PDT 8/4/2020 by Etan Vlessing
Fox Corp. on Wednesday reported a fall in quarterly earnings and overall revenues, as the owner of Fox News Channel and Fox Entertainment recorded lower advertising revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Fox — which, after Rupert Murdoch sold most of 21st Century Fox to Walt Disney for $71 billion last year, became a stand-alone company mostly focused on news and sports — reported net income of $145 million for the latest quarter, compared with $465 million in the year-ago period.
The company posted $442 million in one-time impairment and restructuring charges, in part to exit a rights deal with the U.S. Golf Association. That impact was offset by lower operating expenses.
On a per-share basis, earnings were 20 cents for the latest quarter, against a year-earlier 73 cents per share, and the adjusted per-share earnings were unchanged at 62 cents. Quarterly revenue fell 4 percent to $2.42 billion, compared to a year-earlier $2.51 billion.
Wall Street analysts forecast per-share earnings of 61 cents, with overall revenues to hit $2.41 billion, according to a Zacks consensus estimate.
Fox also reported advertising revenue of $712 million during the fourth quarter, down 22 percent from a year-earlier $918 million. The media conglomerate was hit by a TV advertising downturn as sports leagues went dark, with the delayed Major League Baseball and NASCAR live events only recently returning.
The media group reported lower local ad revenues at Fox Television Stations, fewer live events at Fox Sports and fewer hours of scripted content at Fox Entertainment, due mostly to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Overall affiliate fee revenues rose 8 percent to $1.51 billion.
During the latest quarter, cable network programming saw segment revenues fall 2 percent to $1.27 billion, compared to a year-earlier $1.3 billion, as lower ad revenue was offset by higher affiliate revenues.
Advertising revenue during the fourth quarter was underpinned by political revenues at Fox TV stations. Fox earlier forecast local TV station advertising during the latest quarter would be down sharply, compared to year-earlier levels, as marketing budgets for major brands had collapsed.
"Fox delivered strong results for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year, even in spite of the unprecedented environment in which we all continue to operate, underscoring the strength of our brands and content offering. We continue to expand the way audiences interact and connect with our brands while simultaneously diversifying and enhancing our revenue base," Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.