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Murdoch's Fox gets lift from Planet Of The Apes sequel
[NEW YORK] Strong box-office results from Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes helped produce stronger-than-expected results on Tuesday for Rupert Murdoch's media-entertainment group 21st Century Fox.
Murdoch's conglomerate, which includes the Fox studios, reported a net profit of US$1.04 billion in the quarter ended September 30.
The earnings were down 17 per cent from a year earlier but per-share profits adjusted for special items were ahead of most Wall Street forecasts.
Revenues also were better than anticipated, rising 12 per cent from a year ago to US$7.89 billion.
Murdoch, who is chairman and chief executive, said the results "were driven by continued momentum at our cable network programming and filmed entertainment segments, reflecting sustained increases in affiliate fees as well as the global box office success of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and The Fault In Our Stars."
In cable TV, revenues were up 15 per cent, led by gains in revenues from regional sports channels. The company noted that it would be investing in new sports channels.
On broadcast, revenues were down amid lower advertising receipts and a drop in ratings on the Fox broadcast network.
But filmed entertainment saw a record performance, with revenues up 17 per cent and operating income rising 40 per cent, helped by the Apes sequel, which took in some US$700 million at the box office. Other film hits included the post-apocalyptic Maze Runner and the teen drama The Fault In Our Stars.
"As a result of these successful releases, the film studio became the first to cross the US$4 billion mark in worldwide box office this year," the company said in a statement.
Murdoch last year split his empire into two separate entities, 21st Century Fox and News Corp, which kept the newspapers and other publishing assets which had been a drag on earnings. He remains in control of both firms.