Fox Corp. beat Wall Street expectations in the second fiscal quarter, reporting revenues of nearly $ 4.1 billion, an 8% improvement over the same period last year.
On a adjusted basis, earnings per share rose to 16 cents from 10 cents a year ago.
Analysts’ forecasts demanded revenue of $ 4 billion and a loss of 3 cents a share.
Advertising revenue increased 14% in the quarter, supported by a record number of political ads by Fox stations. The impacts of Covid-19 on the college football season impacted results in the quarter, although ‘other’ revenues fell 14% due to games canceled due to the virus outbreak.
The company’s cable networks saw a 31% increase in advertising revenue as political spending peaked, while revenues for subsidiaries and others declined, leading to a minuscule 1% increase in total revenue in the segment. Fox News has slipped from number one in its rankings since the presidential election on November 3. The network has also been sued by voting software company Smartmatic for $ 2.7 billion over on-air claims about the company by Fox hosts and guests.
Fox News is demanding the dismissal of a lawsuit against Smartmatic, and demands for First Amendment protection to cover Donald Trump’s accusations
Despite headwinds from the lawsuit, which the company filed for denial late Monday, the company’s share rose 5% in pre-market trading, topping $ 34 a share. On Monday it closed at its highest level in nearly a year.
Fox Television’s division, the company’s largest that includes the stations and the broadcast network, generated a 13% increase in revenue. On top of the advertising gains, sales of affiliates were up 23%, as Fox added higher fees from third-party affiliates and higher rates of subscribers to TV stations it owned and operated.
EBITDA’s loss in the $ 185 million TV unit stemmed from a spike in amortization of programming rights at Fox Sports, led by NFL contractual rights increases. The merger of the ad-supported streaming service Tubi, which was acquired by Fox last year, has also caused a decline.