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Fox reports flat revenue growth amid ad market troubles

The Fox Broadcasting logo appears on a building in Phoenix, Arizona in an undated image posted to Flickr and licensed through Creative Commons
(Photo by Tony Webster via Flickr Creative Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

Fox Corporation earned $3.21 billion in overall revenue during the company’s first fiscal quarter of 2024 (calendar Q3 2023), fueled in part by a higher consumption of live sports content, executives affirmed on Thursday.

While programming like National Football League games and the FIFA Women’s World Cup drove viewers to Fox’s broadcast and cable channels, continued softness in the traditional television advertising market contributed to relatively flat revenue growth when compared to the same three-month period last year, the company revealed.

Advertising across Fox’s broadcast and cable channels and its free streaming service Tubi earned $1.2 billion in revenue for the quarter, around 1.6 percent lower compared to Fox Q4 2023 (calendar Q3 2022).

Revenue from affiliate fees — the amount Fox charges broadcast stations for the rights to its programming and fees paid by cable and satellite companies for carriage of its owned-and-operated channels — rose around 1.7 percent to $1.74 billion.

On a segmented basis, Fox said its television division drove the lion’s share of its revenue, with $1.78 billion brought in during Fox Q4 2023 (calendar Q3 2023), around 3.2 percent lower compared to last year. The television segment includes the Fox broadcast network and Tubi.

Cable networks like the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and Fox Sports 1 earned $1.387 billion during the quarter, down 3.7 percent. Fox attributed the decline to a continued weakening of the traditional pay television market as cable and satellite subscribers leave for cheaper online options.

Offering live sports helped drive eyeballs to Fox-owned channels, but it came at a cost, with operating and licensing expenses weighing on Fox’s profits. Net income was reported at $415 million, about 33 percent lower compared to the same quarter last year.

While Fox affirmed its quarterly income was down in part due to cord-cutting and expensive sports rights, the company’s CEO Lachlan Murdoch said on a conference call with investors and reporters that he still believes the cable bundle is the best way to drive value and revenue to Fox.

“The cable bundle remains our largest and most important revenue stream,” Murdoch said on Thursday, reiterating a statement he’s made several times in the past.

Despite the ho-hum earnings, Class A shares of Fox Corporation were trading around 1.2 percent higher as of Thursday afternoon.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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