News Corp. Profits Drop 47%

“Marley and Me,” “Taken” and “Slumdog Millionaire” boost film side.

The bad earnings season for media conglomerates continued Wednesday as News Corp. announced a profit drop of 47%.


Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch tried to find the positive side.

"Our third quarter results directly reflect the continuing weakness of the global economic climate," he said. "Despite this tough environment, we have proven resilient in several key areas this quarter. We are working daily to increase market share and strengthen our core businesses, even in this very challenging environment."


The TV side was a downer, with the unit reporting third quarter operating income of $4 million, a decline of $415 million versus the same period a year ago, due to decreased operating results at the Fox Television Stations and STAR.


The company also cited hard times at Fox Broadcasting Company. "The third quarter operating results declined due to higher programming costs driven by increased license fees for returning series and lower advertising revenue," a release said. "The increase in entertainment programming costs was primarily attributable to lower costs in the prior year as a result of the Writer’s Guild of America strike."


On the flip side, the film unit was particularly strong, rising 8% higher than the $261 million same time last year. The Fox Filmed Entertainment wing, which includes Twentieth Fox Television, saw good syndication sales from "How I Met Your Mother" and "Boston Legal," while international revenues from "The Simpsons and "24" were strong. Results also reflect good box office showings of "Marley and Me" and "Taken." And Fox Searchlight’s Oscar darling "Slumdog Millionaire" has generated more than $140 million at the domestic box office.

The company reported net income of $2.7 billion, flat with last year.