Cable TV revenue gives unexpected rise to media profits

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THE steady flow of revenue and profits from big cable channels — a spigot that could be shut off in the digital future as consumers begin to bypass their cable boxes — allowed both Time Warner and News Corporation to report quarterly profits Wednesday that surpassed the expectations of Wall Street analysts.

At News Corporation, which owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and the 20th Century Fox film studio, among other assets, revenue in its fiscal first quarter was $7.43 billion, up from $7.2 billion in the previous year’s first quarter.

Net income at News Corporation was $775 million, or 30 cents a share, up from $571 million, or 22 cents a share, last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted revenue of $7.42 billion and 24 cents a share.

In a statement, Rupert Murdoch, who controls News Corporation, said, “Our global cable network programming business continues to lead News Corporation’s financial and operational momentum.” Notably, Mr. Murdoch was absent from the company’s conference call because, the company said, he was tired from traveling overseas.

At Time Warner, revenue was $6.38 billion, up 2 percent from a year ago. This was slightly less than the $6.41 billion expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. But the company’s earnings per share, excluding certain items, was 62 cents, compared with Wall Street projections of 53 cents, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Full story: Profit Rises at Time Warner and at News Corporation