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News Corp. Posts Loss on Publishing Write-Down

Fox Cable unit helps offset restructuring charges
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The network boasted two of the season’s most successful series launches, as The X Factor averaged 12.6 million viewers and a 4.3 in the demo, while New Girl averaged 8.22 million viewers and a 4.2 rating, per live-plus-seven-day ratings.

News Corp. president, chief operating officer and deputy chairman Chase Carey told investors that Fox is presently booking scatter inventory at a low-double digit percentage premium versus its upfront rates. He added that the cable market is perhaps a bit more robust than broadcast.

“It’s a reasonably good market; not great, not off the charts,” Carey said, adding that the ad market is somewhat reassuring, given anxieties over European financial destabilization and the general election.

When the final gun sounded in the 2012-13 upfront, Fox booked an estimated $2.2 billion in advance commitments, on 8 percent CPM increases. Dollar volume was up 11 percent versus the previous bazaar.

Carey said the Fox ad sales team “achieved what we set out to achieve,” adding that the network booked 80 percent of its available prime time inventory in the upfront.

All told, TV accounts for nearly three-quarters (74 percent, to be exact) of News Corp.’s overall operating income ($4 billion of $5.38 billion). 

Meanwhile, the company confirmed that it is “on course” with the planned separation of its publishing and entertainment holdings into two distinct, publicly-traded companies. Carey said News Corp. plans to file the initial regulatory papers “around the end of the calendar year, with operating details to follow.”

While James Murdoch filled in for his father, chairman Rupert Murdoch, the embattled deputy COO of News Corp. did not speak for much of the call. As chairman of Sky Italia, the younger Murdoch did answer an analyst’s query related to the overseas pay-TV service.