Fox Corporation beat Wall Street expectations on Tuesday after reporting net income of $369 million on revenue of $3.03 billion for its fourth fiscal quarter of 2023.
That translated to 74 cents per share of earnings attributable to Fox shareholders, or 88 cents per share on an adjusted basis. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were expecting earnings of 71 cents per share on revenue of $3.02 billion.
Fox reached a $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems in April, which did not impact this quarter’s earnings. Dominion had filed a lawsuit accusing Fox News hosts and guests of defaming the voting technology firm by suggesting that widespread voter fraud took place during the 2020 presidential election on compromised Dominion machinery.
Voting technology company Smartmartic has filed a separate defamation lawsuit, seeking $2.7 billion from Fox. Fox has sought to distinguish that suit from Dominion’s, saying it has multiple legal defenses available to it.
Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch focused on Tubi, the company’s free streaming service, in his remarks about the quarter on a call with analysts Tuesday. According to Murdoch, Fox Corp.’s fiscal fourth quarter was Tubi’s “most impressive of all,” with revenue growth up 47 percent and total viewer time up 65 percent. He also mentioned that a majority of Tubi’s activity is made up of active on-demand viewing, rather than passive. Murdoch also nodded to Anjali Sud’s hiring as the new CEO of Tubi.
Fox News closed out the fiscal fourth quarter as the most-watched cable network for the “ninth consecutive quarter,” while remaining the highest-watched cable news network, beating both CNN and MSNBC.
Last month, Fox News debuted its shifted primetime lineup and has seen success thus far. Murdoch said that they are “pleased with the initial results and are confident that our deep bench of talent will continue to set the standard… as we move towards the 2024 presidential election.”
Since its debut, Fox News’ primetime lineup is now up “over 35 percent in total viewers and up over 40 percent in the 25-54 demographic,” compared to the network’s June lineup, Murdoch said. He noted that he expects the “relaunched news lineup will continue with some momentum as we head into the presidential election cycle,” which “will also be a boon to our local stations.”
“We can’t forget our balance sheet, which remains robust,” said Murdoch. “even after this year’s legal costs,” referencing the massive Dominion settlement, which affected last quarter’s earnings.
Fox Corp. noted that revenue will “probably be down given the strike,” but the company will “continue to invest in content… that is passive in the form of revenue, share payments, but also be active in terms of production and licensing costs.”
Last week, Fox Corp. and Flutter Entertainment announced the shuttering of sports betting platform Fox Bet. On Tuesday’s earnings call, Murdoch said that Flutter had full rights to cancel the joint venture, however, he is “disappointed by the outcome,” although it was anticipated. Murdoch noted that Fox did not expend any capital for the venture, as it was entirely provided by Flutter. Fox will retain its stake in both Flutter and FanDuel.