Andrew Bolt might have given Borat a good shellacking when he came Down Under but the famous pseudo-Kazak export has helped deliver a cracking News Corp quarterly profit this morning.
Despite all the vibe about MySpace and the web, the internet did not even score a mention, let alone a break-out of numbers, in Rupert’s 16-page earnings release this morning.
It was good old fashioned movies that saved the day as the filmed entertainment division lifted December quarter income from $US299 million to $US470 million, which was more than newspapers ($US170m), television ($US112m), magazines and inserts ($US74m) and book publishing ($US54m) combined.
The second strongest division was cable network programming with a $US275 million quarterly contribution, led by a 25% increase in net income from Fox News.
So which movies delivered the goods? This is how the release explains it:
Higher second quarter film results were driven by strong theatrical contributions from the launch of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and the continued international success of The Devil Wears Prada. Additionally, the home entertainment performances of theatrical hits Ice Age: The Meltdown, X-Men: The Last Stand, Little Miss Sunshine and The Devil Wears Prada contributed to the strong quarterly results. The second quarter also included launch costs for several additional successful theatrical releases including Eragon, which has grossed over $US240 million in worldwide box office, and Night at the Museum, which held the top spot in the domestic box office for three weeks and has grossed over $US438 million in worldwide box office to date.
News Corp shares jumped 30c to $31.80 this morning and with John Malone expected to be taken out of the equation after an EGM in April, Rupert should face his first board election in decades later this year with great confidence.
The Sun King was dead right that News Corp represented great buying when the stock hit $20 shortly after the move to America, although some of the re-rating has come from the stronger Aussie dollar.
Still, the family’s 308 million voting shares and 64.2 million non-voting shares are today worth $11.73 billion, while the stock that Liberty Media has agreed to cancel is valued at almost $16 billion. Who needed DirecTV anyway? Satellite can’t be bundled with broadband, although don’t mention that in the context of BSkyB and Sky Italia.
Meanwhile, there was some good team spin in The Australian‘s coverage of the News Corp result this morning.
From the News Corp owned Australian:
From the non-News Corp owned Wall Street Journal: