If Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News is at all worried about the recent rating declines, the company has hidden its concerns well. Mr Murdoch’s TV business continues to see sales and earnings growth and reports earnings in both areas in its quarterly report announced on Tuesday.
Fox Corporation, led by Chief Executive, Mr. Murdoch’s son Lachlan Murdoch, saw pre-tax profit jump 17 percent to $ 305 million. In the three months to December, which the company holds for its second fiscal quarter, the company posted an 8 percent increase in revenue to $ 4 billion.
Despite losing its rating crown to CNN in recent weeks, Fox News is still a winning machine. The cable division saw sales jump 1 percent to $ 1.49 billion and pre-tax income up 3 percent to $ 571 million. Advertising rose 31 percent to $ 441 million, but fees paid by cable operators to move the network fell 3 percent to $ 928 million as more people cut the cable.
Lachlan Murdoch trumpeted the cable news network’s performance and downplayed the youngest Decrease in audience numbers.
“The Fox News Channel ended the quarter with the highest average ratings,” he said on an earnings call with analysts. “We are now seeing an expected public retreat since the elections,” a phenomenon he said “in line with previous electoral cycles.” He expects the audience to return to the network at some point.
The company also announced a multi-year renewal contract for Suzanne Scott, the head of the network, to address any concerns that she might be replaced based on the latest rating performance.
“Suzanne’s track record, innovative spirit and commitment to excellence make her the ideal person to continue to lead and grow Fox News,” Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement Tuesday.
The network did not disclose the exact duration or financial terms of the deal.
However, a defamation lawsuit recently filed against Fox Corporation by a little-known technology provider hangs over the company’s financial future. The lawsuit brought by Smartmatic, whose system was used in the Los Angeles County presidential election, seeks at least $ 2.7 billion in damages against Fox Corporation, Fox News and some of its prime-time stars for participating in the conspiracy to lead Defamation and belittling Smartmatic and its voting technology and software, ”the lawsuit said.
Mr Trump and his supporters have repeatedly described the election as “rigged,” and Fox News and its sister network Fox Business have given significant airtime to personalities and anchors who have expressed doubts about the election results. The suit names the Fox anchors Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro. Mr. Dobbs’ show was abruptly canceled last week, ending his ten year run with the company.
The fine Smartmatic is seeking appears to be an accurate reflection of the profit Fox Corporation is making. For the 2020 calendar year, the company posted pre-tax profits of approximately $ 3.1 billion. Fox recently moved to dismiss the lawsuit.
Fox News is also facing competition from newer media outlets like OANN and Newsmax, which are even further to the right. Fox loyalists appeared to have turned on the network after it scheduled the presidential election for Joseph R. Biden Jr., with some viewers flocking to competitors.
When asked about the declining ratings and the impending battle for his core audience, Mr Murdoch hesitated before responding.
“In the journalism trade, you work out what your market is and produce the best product you can possibly produce,” he said. “At Fox News, Fox News’ success throughout its history has been delivering the absolute best news and opinion for a market we believe is firmly at the center of the right.”
He didn’t seem concerned about the surge in far-right news outlets, which have posted record ratings in the past few weeks.
“We believe that we are aligned exactly where we are aligned with the center right,” he said. “We believe that the Americans are politically there.”
The company’s Fox channels were a significant contributor to growth for the quarter as local channels posted record advertising in politics during the presidential election. The broadcasting division saw advertising dollars rise 10 percent to $ 1.8 billion.
The addition of Tubi, the ad-supported free streaming service Fox acquired last year, also helped boost sales for the TV unit. While it is still a money-losing company, Tubi is expected to double its sales to around $ 300 million for the fiscal year ending June.
Michael Grynbaum contributed to the reporting.