Fox TV Stations Report 4Q Operating Income Down 67 Percent

NEW YORK: Operating income for the Fox owned-and-operated TV stations dipped 67 percent in the parent company’s fourth fiscal quarter. The TV stations turned in $95 million adjusted operating income, compared to $279 million a year ago. For the full year ending June 30, 2009, adjusted operating income decreased from $1.1 billion to $174 million.

“These results reflect the overall weakening of the local advertising markets and the absence of contributions from eight stations that were sold in July 2008,” the News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA) earnings release stated.

Local advertising fell 27 percent for quarter, and 21 percent for the full year, on weaker auto, financial and movie advertising.

Fox Broadcasting fiscal 4Q and full-year operating results were also hit by higher programming costs associated with higher licensing fees for retuning series and NASCAR, and lower ad revenue over all. The uptick in programming costs reflected a decrease last year attributable to the writers strike.

News Corp. reported full-year, consolidated net loss of $3.4 billion, or $1.29 a share, compared to net income of $5.4 billion, or $1.81 per share in FY2008. For the quarter ending June 30, News Corp. reported a net loss of $203 million, or 8 cents a share, including $680 million in charges primarily related to Fox Interactive Media. Fiscal 4Q08 net income was $1.1 billion, or 42 cents a share.

“The past year has been the most difficult in recent history, and our 2009 financial performance clearly reflects the weak economic environment that we confronted throughout the year,” said Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp. “We streamlined all our businesses and continue to do so, at the same time adjusting to the revolutionary changes taking place throughout the media industry.”
-- Deborah D. McAdams

More TVB coverage of Fox TV’s financials
March 4, 2009: “Fox TV Station 2Q Income Drops 44 Percent”
Operating income at Fox owned-and-operated TV stations dropped by 44 percent 2Q-over-2Q, parent company News Corp. reports. The decline for the company's fiscal quarter ending Dec. 31 was attributed to the implosion in local ad markets and the divestiture of several TV stations.