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21st Century Fox’s quarterly profit falls, still beats expectations

Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, James Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch is flanked by his sons, Lachlan, left, and James Murdoch.

(Dan Steinberg / Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP)

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street expectations. 

However, the New York Media giant’s sales and profit fell from a year ago because of fewer movie ticket purchases and lower revenue from its broadcast network. 

The company said Wednesday it generated $6.2 billion in sales for the quarter that ended June 30, down 9% from the same time last year on an adjusted basis.

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Adjusted net income fell to 39 cents a share from 42 cents a share. Analysts, on average, expected 37 cents. 

Operating income from its film and TV studio fell 20% to $269 million. The segment’s film slate did not perform as well as last year when it put out the superhero blockbuster “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and the animated hit “Rio 2." 

The unit’s profit also took a hit because of the lack of contributions from the production company Shine Group, which was rolled into a joint venture with Endemol and Core Media Group last year.

The TV side suffered from no new season of “24" and fewer episodes of “Glee,” Fox said. 

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Income from the Fox broadcast network fell 22% to $113 million because of lower advertising revenues (corresponding with lower ratings) and higher sports programming costs.

Fox’s cable networks business, which includes Fox News, FX and the sports channel FS1, grew slightly in the quarter. The cable networks’ income increased about 1% to $1.21 billion as revenue from affiliate fees and advertising dollars rose. 

The company reported earnings after the close of trading in New York, and its shares were little-changed after hours. The stock fell $2.41, or 7%, to $31.92 on Wednesday. 

It was the first time the company reported earnings since Rupert Murdoch’s son James took over as chief executive. Rupert Murdoch is now executive co-chairman, along with son Lachlan. 

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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