News Corporation CFO David DeVoe told analysts there had been no material impact on News Corp. from the ongoing WGA strike. And the financial results for Q4 certainly didn’t contradict that. TV revenues were down slightly to 1.53 billion from 1.6 billion, but operating income for the TV unit more than doubled to 245 million from 112 million a year ago. Of course, that was before the current quarter even began, with the return of “American Idol” and what the company experienced on Sunday – some 250 million in gross revenues for the Fox network and its O&O stations for the Super Bowl, which CEO Rupert Murdoch proclaimed the biggest day in company history.
Murdoch remains upbeat about the future, despite seeing potential challenges in the economic environment, with no way of knowing how great those challenges will be. “What is certain, however, is how better positioned we are than any other media company to weather whatever comes,” he declared. Murdoch was also gung-ho on recently acquired Dow Jones & Company. And yes, he has decided that the subscription model will remain in place for the Wall Street Journal online site, although more WSJ content will be made available free on the web.
News Corporation also reported an up quarter for its cable network businesses, with revenues of 1.2 billion, up from 920 million a year ago. Fox News Channel was credited with having a hand in that. Cable operating income rose to 337 million from 275 million, despite having to absorb around 50 million in start-up costs for Fox Business Network and the Big 10 Network.