Fox Corporation released its first quarter 2021 earnings on Tuesday (Nov. 3), reporting an increase in profits to US$2.72 billion despite the enduring COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc upon the television industry.
Fox Corp., which owns and operates the Fox broadcast network, increased its revenues in the quarter by 2% to $2.72 billion compared to $2.67 from the prior year period, largely led by revenue growth at the cable network programming segment. Affiliate revenues, meanwhile, climbed by 10% with increases at the television and cable network programming divisions.
Advertising revenues dipped 7% to $969 million from $1.04 billion compared with the year-ago period. The decrease was a direct result of the postponement of live sports and a number of scripted programs at Fox Entertainment due to COVID-19′s global impact.
Fox’s main television division, which broadcasts such shiny floor entertainment formats as The Masked Singer (pictured) and I Can See Your Voice, reported $6 million in sliding revenues to $1.35 billion compared with the same period last year as higher affiliate revenues were more than offset by lower advertising revenues.
The company’s first quarter earnings follow similar results from linear broadcasters such as ViacomCBS, Discovery, and UK commercial network ITV, all of which reported lower profits and advertising revenues as the novel coronavirus continues to disrupt the global economy.
On an earnings call hosted on Tuesday, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said that Fox-owned AVOD service Tubi racked up, in September alone, 220 million hours viewed, and touted its “astronomical growth” in the quarter as a particular bright spot.
“In August, Tubi reported 33 million monthly active users, representing a 65% year-over-year jump. More importantly, since acquisition, Tubi has averaged approximately 100% increase year-over-year in total view time, the most meaningful metric when measuring the performance of any AVOD service.”
Murdoch said the bump was due in part to the more than 41 Fox titles available through the service, including unscripted series such as The Masked Singer, Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back and Lego Masters. The Masked Singer, he added, was Tubi’s top television series overall and has been used to drive viewers to the service.
“As you see fragmentation in the linear television market, particularly in linear entertainment, Tubi is the beneficiary of that,” Murdoch said. “Tubi sits on the other side of that ledger, which is gaining audience and users from linear television markets. We think Tubi has a lot of tailwinds behind it.”
(With files from Barry Walsh)