Fox Corp. ad revenue rises 4% in tough quarter, boosted by NFL and World Cup

Fox Corp. Its financials matched Wall Street expectations for the second quarter, driven by NFL football and World Cup football in the US.

The company reported total revenue of $4.61 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31, up 4% from the year-earlier period, and earned 48 cents per share.

Affiliate fee revenue rose 1% to account for a 6% increase in television units. Advertising revenue rose 4%, no mean feat in a tough economic climate, mostly due to the World Cup in Qatar and strong NFL results at Fox Sports. Other boosts came from political spending on the company’s local stations and the growth of streaming service Tubi. The “other revenue” category increased 13%, which the company said was primarily due to the consolidation of entertainment production companies in the television division and the impact of higher Fox Nation subscription revenue.

This is the first quarterly report for Fox since the company and its corporate sibling, News Corp., abandoned a potential merger. A statement from the Rupert Murdoch-controlled companies said they had concluded that a combination was “not optimal” for shareholders. Minority shareholders opposed merging the companies after nearly a decade of separate operations.

Fox’s quarterly numbers are the latest poll on the state of traditional TV advertising. While one of its fast-growing free streaming services, Tubi, brings in advertising revenue, the bulk of Fox’s revenue comes from traditional pay-TV channels as well as its lucrative string of local stations. As the ad market turned sour in the second half of 2022, Fox was among the few companies to report encouraging results. Helping offset the larger pullback for many advertisers due to inflation and other economic factors has been moderate selective spending on Fox News and stations, as well as tuning-in for live sports, particularly the NFL and college football.

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