NewsCorp/21st Century – Fox

By Deanna Saltzman

Corporate Background History:

On May 24, 2013, the board of directors of NewsCorp (former parent company of the mega media company originally known as 20th Century Fox), announced a split between its troubled publishing divisions and its entertainment media divisions. The schism was approved by shareholders in June, and the divisions were redubbed News Corporation and 21st Century Fox, respectively. 21st Century Fox remained in the control of Rupert Murdoch (original NewsCorp founder), who now holds the titles of Chairman and Chief Executive. [1]

Company Holdings:

21st Century Fox television is comprised of an array of cable and broadcast programming.  Cable networks include YES network, Fox New Channel, Fox Business Network, National Geographic, Fox Sports 1 & 2, and FX Networks. Broadcast holdings include Fox Broadcasting Network, Fox Sports, MyNetworkTV, as well as owned and operated stations within Fox Television Stations Group. [2]

With shows such as “American Idol”, “New Girl”, and “The Simpsons”, Fox Broadcasting Network “dominates” the adult 18-24 demographic. The “top-rated” Fox Sports broadcasts exclusive NFL, MLB, UFC, and NASCAR packages. Fox Sports Network is the leading provider of local sports, with 22 owned-an-operated networks for regional distribution of MLB, NHL, and collegiate sports.

On cable news, Fox News Channel reigns as the most-watched news channel for 11 years. In quality cable television, FX Networks features many hit series including “Sons of Anarchy”, “Louie”, and “American Horror Story”.

Key Executives:

Rupert Murdoch.

Rupert Murdoch. Source: http://www.nndb.com

Rupert Murdoch is Chairman and CEO of both 21st Century Fox and its former parent company, NewsCorp. He has overseen the corporation’s development as an international entertainment company.

Chase Carey serves as President and COO.

James Murdoch is Co-Chief Operating Officer, supervising global television assets.

John Nallen is the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

David Hill serves as Senior Executive Vice President, specializing in programming and digital developments.

Gary Newman and Dana Walden both serve as Chairmen of the Twentieth Century Fox Television division, which produces highly-rated TV content.

Peter Rice serves as Chairman & CEO of the Fox Networks Group division, supervising Fox Broadcasting Company,FX Networks, and Fox Sports Media Group (O&O’s).

More on Key Executives. [3]

 

Financials:

The most recent earnings release from the second quarter, reported on February 6, 2014, shows an $8.16 billion in revenue for Q2, which is a 15% increase from the prior year quarter. The increase reflects growth in Fox’s DBS international holdings as well as growth in Cable Network Programming and affiliate revenue growth. Broadcast Television reported a 6% increase in revenue from the previous year as a result of growing retransmission earnings. However, operating income has declined due to investments in developing networks such as FXX. [4]

This Google Finance [5] graph shows a slight decrease of $1.69 (-7.06% change) in stock price from the previous year, but a general trend of stability for the January-April period.

google finance

21st Century Fox Stock Price 2013-2014. Source: Google Finance

 

 

 

21st Century Fox Television In The News:

"Fargo"

“Fargo”. FX. Source: Heavy.com Entertainment

FX recently launched a new mini-series, “Fargo”, based on the Coen brothers’ classic 1996 film. Noah Harley (“My Generation”, “Bones”) is series creator, and his pilot script won over series producers Joel and Ethan Coen. The series follows Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman)–our familiar, bumbling, and insecure insurance agent character–and his catalytic bad influence, Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton), who plays the devil-on-the-shoulder-role by advising Lester to stand up for himself. When that advice gets taken a bit too literally, our moralistic yet ineffectual friends at the Bemidji, Minnesota Police Department get on the case. [6]

The premier was a success with the help of three showings, raking in 4.15 million viewers, 1 million of those in the key 18-49 demo. FX is also optimistic about time-shifting growth from DVR use for boosting their key demo ratings. [7]

Jack is back.

Jack is back on “24: Live Another Day” on Fox.

Fox broadcasting will also premier a 12-episode reprisal of the hit series “24”, now reincarnated as “24: Live Another Day”. The multi-Emmy-award-winning team of the legendary series returns with Executive Producer Howard Gordon, lead actor and Executive Producer Kiefer Sutherland,  and co-creator Robert Cochran. This time, Jack Bauer works as an “exile from justice” attempting to thwart world-threatening terrorist activities. The series is set to premiere on Fox at 9:00PM on May 5th. [8]

Watch: “24: Live Another Day” Fox Trailer

When “24” last aired in 2010, the audience had declined from a peak of 13 million down to 9 million. With a heavy promo campaign of on-air and online teaser trailers, Fox hopes to reignite its primetime hit to former glory with dedicated audiences. [9]

 

The Americans

“The Americans”. Source: Hollywood Reporter, courtesy of FX.

FX is also renewing “The Americans” for a 3rd season. Although it’s ratings have not been up to the same standard as other FX originals such as “American Horror Story”, there is still hope for the critically acclaimed spy thriller by means of DVR time-shifting–which has been shown to boost the show’s key demo viewership by 81% in the past. [10] 

Gang Related

Source: SeriesNews.Biz

Fox has been revamping its summer broadcast schedule with new series such as “I Wanna Marry Harry” (a reality Bachelorette-esque show competing for British Royalty’s heart), Steve Carell’s “Riot” (celebrity game show), a trifecta from Gordon Ramsay (“Kitchen Nightmares”, “Master Chef”, “Hotel Hell”), and the new scripted drama “Gang Related” and original sitcom “Surviving Jack”. The scripted newbies hope to get a programming tipoff following “American Idol’s” primetime spot. Likewise, “Riot” will follow the series finale of “Glee”. Full schedule here. [11] [12]

 

"The Cosmos"

Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of “The Cosmos”. Source: Variety.

Fox also premiered “The Cosmos” this March on its Fox broadcasting channel as well as 9 other cable networks:  National Geographic Channel, FX, FXX, FXM, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo and FOX Life. The series premiered with a sizable audience of 8.5 million, evan against steep competition from AMC’s “The Walking Dead” in  its primetime 9:00PM Sunday slot. The bulk of these viewers were from broadcast, with the demo under age 50 being comprised of 60% men. [13]

 

Murdoch family

Rupert Murdoch and sons, James and Lachlan. Source: Variety.

In corporate news, Rupert Murdoch’s sons, James and Lachlan Murdoch, have each been promoted to new key roles. James is now serving as co-COO in cooperation with COO Chase Carey. He supervises global assets and oversees Fox Networks Group. (Accordingly, Peter Rice will now report to James Murdoch as opposed to Chase Carey). Lachlan serves as non-exec co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, developing “overall corporate strategy”. All promotional news released to press as of 3/26/2014. [14]

YES Network

YES Network Logo. Source: www.web.yesnetwork.com

In Fox sports news, 21CF increased its stake in YES network from 49% to 80% in the interest of expanding its global/regional sports portfolio. This makes YES Network an official “consolidated entity” of 21CF, although Yankee Global Enterprises will retain the other 20% and Tracy Dolgin will keep his CEO role. [15]

American Idol Ratings Slump

American Idol Ratings Slump. Source: Variety.

Unfortunately, Fox’s ratings for “American Idol” have been dropping off, finishing fourth for 6 consecutive weeks among competing broadcasting networks.  Reportedly, the ratings decrease has also been hurting ad sales. Nielsen’s ratings show a 30% decline from last year, although Fox hopes future programming such as the “24” premiere will help. [16] [17]

Looking Ahead:

With a strong revamp in broadcast and cable for this coming season, 21CF may likely be able to cover losses from falling ad sales and investments in developing networks.

Word Count (captions & headers included): 1253

Sources:

[1] News Corp shareholders vote to split company into two. BBC News. Accessed 4/9/2014.

[2] 21st Century Fox Business Units. 21st Century Fox. Accessed 4/9/2014.

[3] 21st Century Fox Management. 21st Century Fox. Accessed 4/9/2014.

[4] 21st Century Fox Past Earnings Releases. 21st Century Fox. Accessed 4/9/2014.

[5] 21st Century Fox Google Finance Chart. Google Finance. Accessed 4/17/2014.

[6] Fargo TV Review. Hollywood Reporter. Accessed 4/17/2014.

[7] TV Ratings for FX’s “Fargo” Delivers. Hollywood Reporter. Accessed 4/17/2014.

[8] 24: Live Another Day. Fox. Accessed 4/9/2014.

[9] Fox Cancels “24” TV Show, Move Version is Next. Reuters. Accessed 4/9/2014.

[10] “Americans” Renewed Third Season at FX. Hollywood Reporter. Accessed 4/17/2014.

[11] Fox Counts Down Premiere Dates for 24: Live Another DayGang Related, and Surviving Jack. TV.com. Accessed 4/17/2014.

[12] Fox Sets Launch for Faux Prince Harry Dating Series, Shifts ‘Gang Related’. Hollywood Reporter. Accessed 4/17/2014.

[13] ‘Cosmos’ Premiere Draws 8.5 Million Viewers on Fox Networks. Variety. Accessed 4/9/2014.

[14] Murdoch Shuffle: Lachlan Returns to Fox, News Corp.; James Upped to Co-COO. Variety. Accessed 4/9/2014.

[15] Fox To Acquire Majority Stake In Yankees’ YES Network. Variety. Accessed 4/9/2014.

[16] Does ‘American Idol’ Ebb Mean Music’s Over for Fox? Variety. Accessed 4/9/2014.

[17] American Idol to ‘wind down’, 21st Century Fox chief reveals. The Guardian. Accessed 4/9/2014.

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