Channel launches hit 21st Century Fox profits

US media company 21st Century Fox has said that investment in new channels, including the launch of the new Fox Sports pay-television channels in the US, affected profit in the company’s first quarter of the 2013-14 financial year.

In interim results for the three months through to the end of September, net income stood at $1.26bn (€926.5m) compared to $2.23bn a year earlier – a period in which 21st Century Fox was aided by selling its stake in television software company NDS.

Assisted by higher-than-expected growth from its television business at home and overseas, 21st Century Fox’s revenue rose by 18 per cent to $7.06bn.

Fox Sports 1 made its highly-anticipated debut in the US market on August 17, replacing motorsports cable-television channel Speed.

A second national sports channel, Fox Sports 2, was also launched on the same day, taking the place of another Fox-owned cable-television channel, Fuel TV.

Speaking on a conference call with analysts, News Corporation president, chief operating officer and deputy chairman Chase Carey said audience ratings were “mixed” on Fox Sports 1 and fellow newly-launched channel FXX. The latter platform, an entertainment channel, began broadcasting on September 2 replacing the Fox Soccer channel.

Carey said that the company had invested about $50m on launching the new channels, about a quarter of the annual budget of about $200m that it plans for the first couple of years of operation.