Huge Quarter for News Corp.

Movies, newspapers and television all drive earnings.
Author:
Publish date:

News Corp.'s

(NWS) - Get Report

quarterly earnings shot up 69% from a year ago, charged up by strong results in its television and British newspaper segments.

The global media company earned $465 million, or 32 cents a share, in its third quarter, up from $275 million, or 21 cents a share, last year. Revenue rose to $5.20 billion from $4.39 billion last year. Excluding special items, the company earned $460 million, or 31 cents a share, in the latest quarter.

On that basis, analysts were forecasting earnings of 27 cents a share in the latest quarter.

The company's biggest grossing segment, filmed entertainment, saw revenue rise to $1.18 billion from $1.16 billion last year, while operating income rose to $214 million from $201 million. In television, revenue rose to $1.18 billion from $1.13 billion, while operating income rose to $259 million from $207 million. In newspapers, revenue rose to $914 million from $701 million, while operating income rose to $176 million from $115 million.

News said its movie results reflected strength in the worldwide home entertainment performance of films, including

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

,

Planet of the Apes

,

Moulin Rouge

and

Ice Age

. The company said

Cheaper by the Dozen

has done $190 million in revenue since it was released.

Television's 25% rise in operating income reflected double-digit earnings improvement at the Fox Broadcasting and Fox Television Stations, and higher contributions from Star. The 2004 quarter benefited from stronger primetime advertising revenue led by

American Idol

as well as higher sales for local news and the NFL playoffs. The year-ago period was hurt by pre-emptions caused by the Iraq war.

The 53% jump in operating earnings at the newspaper segment reflected a 22% improvement in the British segment, driven by circulation and advertising revenue gains partially offset by costs associated with the compact version of the

Times

of London.

"Circulation revenue growth was achieved across all titles, with the largest increase at the

Sun

, where reduced cover price initiatives during the third quarter a year ago adversely affected results. The improvement in advertising was primarily driven by growth at the

Sun

on the strength of higher classified and color advertisements."