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By Malathi Nayak and Sai Sachin R
Nov 4 (Reuters) - Twenty-First Century Fox Inc reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue as a lack of major movie releases and poor collections from “The Fantastic Four” weighed on its film studio business and a strong dollar hurt overseas results.
Fox shares fell nearly 3 percent to $30.34 in morning trading after the company released results from its first full quarter under Chief Executive Officer James Murdoch, who took over from his father, Rupert, on July 1.
Revenue from the filmed entertainment business, which accounts for nearly a third of the company’s total, fell 28 percent to $1.79 billion in the first quarter ended on Sept. 30 from a year earlier.
The drop reflects the weak performance of superhero film “The Fantastic Four” and difficult comparisons with the year-earlier period, which included successes such as “Dawn of the Planet of Apes” and animated animal comedy “Rio 2.”
Fox, which gets more than a third of its revenue from abroad, took a hit of more than $100 million from the effects of the stronger dollar this year, Chief Financial Officer John Nallen said on a conference call.
Cable network programming, which includes the Fox News, FX network and National Geographic channels, was a bright spot. Its revenue rose 7.2 percent to $3.46 billion, boosted by coverage of the first Republican candidates’ debate, which drew a record 24 million viewers.
Sports channels and Fox News ratings also helped drive the unit’s domestic advertising revenue up 4 percent.
Weak ratings and one less week of National Football League broadcasts for the television unit, which includes the Fox Network, led to a 5 percent decline in advertising revenue there. Overall revenue in the business was flat at $1.05 billion.
Net income attributable to shareholders fell to $675 million, or 34 cents per share, from $1.04 billion, or 47 cents per share, a year earlier.
The year-earlier numbers include Fox’s direct broadcast satellite television business, which the company has since sold.
Adjusted for the sale, Fox’s revenue fell 6.3 percent to $6.08 billion, below the analysts’ average estimate of $6.42 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Excluding special items, earnings of 38 cents per share from continuing operations were just ahead of analysts’ expectations of 37 cents.
Reporting by Malathi Nayak in New York and Sai Sachin R in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Lisa Von Ahn