News Corp., the media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch, posted a lower second-quarter profit on Wednesday compared with results bolstered by a onetime gain a year earlier, but said its box office earnings rose from several hits including the "Borat" movie.
News Corp. earned $822 million in the three months ended Dec. 31, down from $1.08 billion in the same period a year ago, when it recorded a one-time gain from the sale of an educational publishing unit.
Without that gain of $381 million, the year-ago earnings would have been $694 million. On that basis, earnings from continuing operations rose 18 percent in the latest quarter compared with a year ago.
Revenues rose 18 percent to $7.84 billion from $6.67 billion.
The earnings were equivalent to 27 cents per share of the company's Class A non-voting stock, versus the 25 cents per share that analysts polled by Thomson Financial had been expecting. Net earnings in the year-ago period were 35 cents per share, or 22 cents without the one-time gain.
Earnings from its movie studio jumped 57 percent to $470 million from $299 million on a strong slate including "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" as well a strong international earnings from "The Devil Wears Prada."
Television earnings stumbled, however, falling 39 percent to $112 million on lower earnings from the Fox broadcast network and losses related to the launch of MyNetworkTV, a mini-network on Fox stations.
Murdoch said in a statement that the company was "disappointed" with the results at MyNetworkTV, where ratings have been "far below expectations." He said new management has been brought in and will introduce new programming in hopes of turning the situation around.