News Corp filmed entertainment revenues down 8%

MUMBAI: News Corporation reported operating income of $3.6 billion, which is a $1.7 billion decline from the record $5.3 billion of adjusted operating income reported a year ago. Current year revenues stand at $30 billion, down eight per cent from the $33 billion reported in fiscal 2008.

The full year adjusted operating income decline was the result of lower contributions at the majority of the company’s businesses that more than offset 32 per cent growth at the Cable Network Programming segment.

However, the filmed entertainment segment reported fourth quarter operating income of $203 million, which is eight per cent below the $220 million reported for the same period a year ago. The decline was primarily due to lower library product contributions from Twentieth Century Fox Television.

Fourth quarter film results included significant home entertainment contributions from Taken, Marley & Me and Slumdog Millionaire, as well as the domestic pay-TV availability of Horton Hears a Who! The quarter also included launch costs for the successful worldwide theatrical releases of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, which together have generated more than $750 million in worldwide box office receipts to date, as well as pre-release launch costs for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which became the highest grossing worldwide opening weekend ever for an animated film and has generated more than $725 million in worldwide box office receipts to date.

For the full year, segment operating income decreased to $848 million, from the record $1.25 billion reported in fiscal 2008. Although the full year included many theatrical and home entertainment successes, in aggregate, their contributions were below those of the prior record year which included the worldwide theatrical and home entertainment performances of The Simpsons Movie, Live Free or Die Hard, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Juno.

News Corp chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said, "I am pleased that we are reporting adjusted operating income right in line with the guidance we previously provided during the last six months which reflects a decline of approximately 30 per cent. The past year has been the most difficult in recent history, and our 2009 financial performance clearly reflects the weak economic environment that we confronted throughout the year. We streamlined all our businesses and continue to do so, at the same time adjusting to the revolutionary changes taking place throughout the media industry."

"This has presented us with many challenges and also opportunities. We have strengthened all our franchises and are particularly well placed for the coming recovery. Nearly all our businesses have improved market share. Particular progress has been made in cable network programming. I am certain that News Corporation is poised to profit, and deliver strong returns, as the economy rebounds," he added.

For the full year, the company reported a net loss of $3.4 billion as compared to net income of $5.4 billion reported in fiscal 2008.

Additionally, News Corporation has announced that it has increased its stake in German pay-television platform Sky Deutschland AG from 30.5 percent to 39.96 percent.

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