Fox Meets Estimates as `Deadpool,' Cable News Deliver Growth

21st Century Fox Inc., Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV company, posted fiscal third-quarter profit that met analysts’ estimates, boosted by continued growth in affiliate fees, advertising sales and the surprise superhero film hit “Deadpool.”

Profit excluding some items rose to 47 cents a share, New York-based Fox said Wednesday in a statement, meeting the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue grew 5.7 percent to $7.23 billion in the period ended Mar. 31, compared with estimates of $7.19 billion.

Fox benefited from the rising fees cable-TV systems and affiliated stations pay to carry the company’s programming. Higher ad sales were driven primarily by Fox News, which has enjoyed strong ratings and revenue during the U.S. election season.

The greatest boost to the quarter was the performance of “Deadpool,” which opened Feb. 12. The anti-hero feature starring Ryan Reynolds, an R-rated take on the genre, cost $58 million to make and generated $761 million in worldwide ticket sales, dousing concerns that audiences are tiring of superhero films.

  • Revenue from cable TV, the company’s biggest business, grew 9.9 percent to $3.94 billion
  • Broadcast TV sales increased to $1.3 billion, up 5 percent
  • Sales in filmed entertainment fell 2.8 percent to $2.32 billion, because of lower TV production

Fox was little changed in extended trading. The stock fell 0.53 percent to $29.80 at the close in New York and has gained 9.7 percent this year.

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