News Corp has used its quarterly earnings report to highlight the success of its cable television and film units while trying to redirect investors’ attention from a phone hacking scandal at the company’s British newspaper unit.
Buoyed by channels like Fox News and FX and the strong box-office performance of 20th Century Fox’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” News Corp reported operating income of $1.39 billion in the three months ended September 30th, up 21 per cent from the same period last year. Cable television channels provided 56 per cent of the company’s total operating income.
News Corp reported a slight drop in net income to $738 million from $775 million last year. The decrease in an otherwise strong quarter was partly the result of fees related to an abandoned bid for the British broadcaster BSkyB. Also contributing to the decrease was a $90 million tax benefit that lifted net income for the same quarter last year, said Reed Nolte, the company’s senior vice president for investor relations.
Chase Carey, News Corp’s president and chief operating officer, said he did not have anything new to add about the hacking scandal, though he said the company had a “fully reserved” fund to pay legal fees related to it. Instead he chose to emphasise the company’s slate of diverse businesses. “An earnings call is a good time to shift gears to talk about our operations,” Carey said.