Fox Ad Revenue Jumps 14% in 2020 Election Quarter

Local stations enjoyed record political advertising as Fox News Channel got a ratings boost

Tucker Carlson election night 2020
Fox News

Advertising revenue at Fox Corp. rose 14% in the company’s second quarter of fiscal year 2021, based on record political ad sales at Fox Television Stations ahead of the 2020 presidential election and Fox News’ ratings boost, the company revealed in its Q2 earnings report Tuesday.

The company reported a Q2 net income of $230 million, compared to the $314 million it posted in the prior year’s second quarter.

Fox beat Wall Street’s expectations for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2020, with analysts forecasting a loss of 3 cents per share on $3.99 billion in revenue, according to a consensus compiled by Yahoo Finance. On Tuesday, Fox reported adjusted EPS of 16 cents on $4.09 billion in revenue, up 8% from the $3.78 billion in revenue it posted in the comparable year-ago quarter.

According to Fox Corp., advertising revenues increased 14%, primarily due to record political ad sales at local stations, continued linear and digital growth at Fox News, and “the impact of the consolidation” of Fox’s AVOD platform Tubi.

Fox says its affiliate revenue was +6% in Q2, led by growth at broadcast and cable segments.

Elsewhere, the company had a 14% decrease in “other” revenues, which Fox attributed to lower sports sublicensing revenues at the cable networks as a result of canceled college football games in the quarter amid the pandemic. Fox says these lower sales were offset “by a corresponding reduction in sports programming rights amortization.”

“Once again, the Company delivered exceptional operating and financial results,” executive chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement accompanying the financials. “Fox Television Stations, Fox News Media and Tubi all experienced record highs in the December quarter, led by an unprecedented political advertising cycle at our local television stations, strong digital growth at Fox News Media and an influx of new advertisers at Tubi. We are looking forward to a return to normal entertainment and sports production schedules, and we are grateful to our colleagues and business partners who, during the pandemic, have ensured that our viewers are informed and engaged. Through it all, the fundamentals of our business and our strategic focus have never been stronger.”

Earlier this month, Fox News and three of its hosts — one of whom, Lou Dobbs, had his show canceled last week — were named in a $2.7 billion lawsuit filed by voting technology company Smartmatic, which accused the cable network of a disinformation campaign associated with the 2020 election. Fox News moved to dismiss the suit Monday night, ahead of its Q2 earnings reveal this morning.

Fox stock closed Monday at $32.69 per share. The regular U.S. stock markets will reopen at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Murdoch and other Fox executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the quarter in greater detail.


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