Deadpool? 21st Century Fox earnings miss expectations on weak film revenues

Emma Haslett
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Earnings from films dragged it down at the end of 2015 (Source: Getty)

21st Century Fox earnings were more Deadpool than Eddie the Eagle in the three months to the end of December - with film revenues dragging it down.

In a statement this evening, the company said quarterly earnings fell one per cent, or $49m (£33.9m), to $7.38bn, against analyst expectations of $7.53bn. Earnings per share fell to $0.44, down from $0.53 last year.

The fall was driven by a 14 per cent drop in revenues in its filmed entertainment arm, which slid to $2.36bn, from $2.75bn the year before.

But revenues from cable network programming rose 9.4 per cent, to $3.7bn, from $3.38bn in 2014, while earnings at its ever-popular television arm rose 6.2 per cent, from $1.62bn to $1.72bn.

Meanwhile, earnings from affiliates fell to $12m, from $250m last year, partly thanks to lower contributions from Sky, and partly because in the previous period it made gains when it sold its stakes in National Geographic and ITV. But it added that losses from Hulu and Endemol Shine Group had also contributed to the fall.

"Our cable business continued to drive our growth, delivering sustained increases in domestic affiliate fees and gains in advertising revenue, underscoring the power of our global brands and distinctive programming," chorused executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch.

"In addition, we are encouraged by progress at the Fox Broadcast Network, which delivered significant advertising gains from both our sports and entertainment programming.

"At our television production business, we deliberately invested in a higher number of new original series this quarter in support of the network’s new primetime schedule and in creating valuable long-term assets for the company."

The company said it will pay dividends of $0.15 per class A and class B share in April. Shares fell 4.43 per cent after hours, to $23.55.

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