Morning Media Newsfeed: Fox, Time Warner Issue Earnings | Coulson Charged With Perjury

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Fox, Time Warner Deliver Dueling Earnings Reports, Both Positive (NYT)
How dead is the Fox-Time Warner deal? So dead that Rupert Murdoch hopped on his company’s quarterly earnings call on Wednesday to drive home the point that his giant media company, 21st Century Fox, really is walking away. The collapse of the deal, which would have been the biggest media merger in a decade, set the stage for a day of dueling earnings reports and analyst conference calls on Wednesday, as both Fox and Time Warner sought to reassure investors that they were going to be just fine without each other. Capital New York “This is our resolute decision, which is why we formally withdrew our acquisition offer,” Murdoch said, citing Time Warner’s decision not to negotiate, the response from Fox’s board of directors, along with Fox’s stock price, which Murdoch said is “severely undervalued.” Variety Film and cable programming gains powered 21st Century Fox to strong earnings and revenue gains in the fiscal fourth quarter, despite a big decline at the Fox network from the collapse of American Idol. Fox reported revenue of $8.42 billion, a 17 percent gain over the year-ago quarter powered by stronger contributions from the film division. Operating income climbed 17 percent to $1.77 billion. THR During the regular session Wednesday, shares of 21st Century Fox rose 3 percent and another 4 percent after the closing bell. Shares of Time Warner, meantime, were crushed because of the failed merger attempt, falling 13 percent in regular trading Wednesday. HuffPost / AP Time Warner Inc. said Wednesday that its second-quarter net income rose 10 percent on strong results from its HBO and Turner properties. New York-based Time Warner, which owns TV channels like HBO and TBS as well as Warner Bros. studios, said profit increased to $850 million, or 95 cents per share, from $771 million, or 81 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

Andy Coulson Accused of Perjury in Scottish Trial (HuffPost / AP)
Prosecutors have charged former tabloid editor Andy Coulson with perjury over evidence he gave in the trial of a Scottish politician. The Guardian In a three-page indictment handed down at the high court in Glasgow, Coulson has been accused of lying about his knowledge of phone hacking at the now defunct News of The World tabloid, lying about his knowledge of the “culture” of hacking at the paper and lying about his knowledge of payments allegedly made to corrupt police officers while editor of the paper. Coulson did not attend the hour-long preliminary hearing and did not enter a plea. NYT The latest charges at the High Court in Glasgow relate to testimony in 2010 at the trial of Tommy Sheridan, a Scottish lawmaker, and his wife. The Scottish prosecutors also said on Wednesday that Coulson was aware of corrupt payments made to police officers to obtain a private telephone directory compiled by the royal family. BBC News A further hearing was set for October. The court was told a trial would not take place before January next year.

Revenue, Profit Drop at Viacom (NYT)
Viacom, the media group that includes the Paramount film studio and the cable television networks MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, reported a 5.1 percent decrease in profit in the latest fiscal quarter, with earnings dragged down by declines in the filmed entertainment group. WSJ The media networks division, which includes the cable networks, posted $2.59 billion in revenue, up less than 1 percent from a year ago. Advertising revenue rose slightly, while affiliate revenue was flat due in part to the licensing of content to Amazon last year. Excluding the impact of licensing deals, domestic affiliate revenue growth was in the low-double digits on a percentage basis. THR The earnings and revenue figures came in slightly below Wall Street expectations. Film revenue fell 26 percent as Transformers: Age of Extinction opened in the U.S. only late in the quarter, with most revenue to be recognized in the following weeks and months. The year-ago period had benefited from a Star Trek movie and World War Z. Deadline Hollywood CEO Philippe Dauman called it “a solid quarter for Viacom,” touting the $1 billion that the company returned to shareholders via buybacks and dividends as it “continued to build on our success in creating outstanding content.” Meanwhile, Paramount showed a steep revenue decline in comparison to last year when it distributed Iron Man 3. Sales fell 26 percent to $856 million although the reduction in film and distribution expenses lifted operating income by 224 percent to $55 million. Theatrical revenues fell 43 percent while worldwide home entertainment dropped 24 percent.