21st Century Fox reported lower fourth-quarter profits despite gains at its cable programming operations.Net income fell 16 percent to USD 476 million, or 26 cents a share, from USD 567 million, or 30 cents a share. A year ago, the company had a tax benefit worth 7 cents a share.Revenues rose 2 percent to USD 6.75 billion in the quarter.

Earnings were a hair above Wall Street forecasts, but revenues fell short.Operating income increased 19 percent to USD 1.44 billion at the company’s cable network programming unit. Revenue rose to USD 4.329 billion from USD 3.921 billion.

Domestic affiliate revenue rose 10 percent on increased rates at Fox News, the regional sports networks, FX and FS1.Domestic advertising revenue was up 6 percent because of higher ratings at Fox News and increases at National Geographic Channel.

At Fox’s television unit, which includes the Fox Broadcasting Co., fourth-quarter operating income fell by USD 7 million to USD 137 million. Revenue dropped to USD 137 million from USD 144 million.

National and local advertising was down, offsetting gains in retransmission payments. Expenses were 3 percent lower because of lower entertainment programming costs.

21 Century Fox’s film unit lost USD 22 million, compared with USD 164 million in operating income a year ago.

“We delivered strong financial and operational momentum in fiscal 2017,” said Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, the company’s executive chairmen. “The investment we have made in our video brands, and in programming that truly differentiates, is proving to be the right strategy. It is driving the value of our brand portfolio across both established and emerging distribution platforms and reflects our deep commitment to creative excellence across all of our entertainment production businesses. In addition, the outstanding performance of our live news and sports programming drove advertising growth for the year and continues to set our business apart. What we achieved in 2017 sets us up well for this year and beyond.”- Broadcasting Cable