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News Corp. second-quarter net income jumps 65% to $1.06 billion

February 8, 2012 |  2:31 pm

Strong performances from the film and cable television business helped propel a 65% jump in News Corp.'s net income for its second quarter from a year earlier, the company said Wednesday.

The media conglomerate reported revenue of $8.98 billion for the quarter that ended Dec. 31, up 2% from the same time a year earlier.  Net income rose to $1.06 billion, compared with $642 million a year earlier. Earnings per share rose to 42 cents.

"The significant growth we reported in the second quarter in the cable network programming, television and filmed entertainment segments clearly validates our strategy to develop and distribute superior wide-ranging content," Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

Cable television remains the engine that drives News Corp. Operating income rose 20% to $882 million for the second quarter, reflecting improved results at Fox's Regional Sports networks, reduced rights costs associated with the NBA lockout, and the continued performance of Fox News. 

The film group saw its operating income more than double, to $393 million, from $189 million in the same period in 2010.  The strong results were driven by home entertainment sales of the animated film "Rio" and summer releases "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and "X-Men: First Class," as well as the strong second- quarter box office performance of "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," which generated more than $300 million in worldwide ticket sales. The company also released the multiple Academy Award nominee "The Descendants."

The television group, which includes the Fox broadcasting network and a local television station group, reported a 25% increase in operating income from a year earlier, to $189 million for the second quarter. The growth reflects increased ad revenue from the network's stronger fall schedule, led by "X-Factor" and "The New Girl," as well as a 100% increase in fees paid to distribute network programming.

Publishing took a hit in the second quarter, with operating income falling 43% to $218 million, partly because of the lack of contributions from the now-defunct News of the World tabloid -- closed after revelations of phone hacking and bribes -- and weak advertising revenue from the company's Australian newspapers.

News Corp. took an $87-million charge related to the costs and ongoing investigations connected with the London phone-hacking scandal.


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Walt Disney Co. reports 12% income bounce

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo: Caesar the ape is portrayed by Andy Serkis in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." Credit: 20th Century Fox