New York (CNN) Despite a tumultuous and expensive few weeks, Fox News hasn’t changed course.
Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch said there would be no change in strategy at the company’s top-rated cable news network despite the firing of its top-rated anchor. Tucker Carlson And a massive one $787.5 million settlement For Dominion Voting Systems, this left the company in the red for the period ended.
“There has been no change in our programming strategy at Fox News,” Murdoch said in response to an analyst asked about Carlson’s exit during an investor call Tuesday to discuss his financial results.
Murdoch described Fox News as “obviously a hit” and said Carlson’s firing was a shift in its strategy, not a departure from it.
“As always, we’re adjusting our programming and lineup, and that’s what we’re constantly doing,” Murdoch said.
His comments came after the company reported a net loss of $50 million for the quarter just ended, compared with a profit of $290 million a year earlier.
The reason is the $719 million charge, including the cost of the Dominion settlement Legal remedies Other legal expenses, including those related to its press division and attorney fees, were partially offset by changes in the market value of its subsidiaries’ equity earnings and certain of its investments.
The earnings report did not mention Dominion’s voting practices, although it did mention fees related to legal settlement costs at Fox News Media. On the company’s call with investors, Murdoch cited the settlement with Dominion as being in the best interest of the company and its shareholders, saying that rulings issued by a Delaware court limited its protections. He said if it goes to trial it could take two or three years to appeal.
“We are proud of our Fox News team, the exceptional quality of their journalism and their leadership of the Fox News brand,” he said. “So as we look forward, we are confident in the strength of the Fox brands and the strength of our balance sheet.”
Although internal communications between Fox anchors were made public during the discovery process, he again supported the company’s post-election coverage of false conspiracy theories made against Dominion. Don’t believe the claims made.
“We’ve always acted as a news organization,” Murdoch told investors Tuesday. “Now we’re confident in the merits of our position that the First Amendment protects a news organization’s reporting and allegations.” However, the Delaware court severely limited our defense and trial by pretrial motion. Trial Judgments.”
Fox did not have to apologize or admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement in Dominion’s defamation lawsuit, although its statement said it acknowledged “the court’s rulings that found certain claims about Dominion to be false.”
Fox is still facing a lawsuit from another voting machine manufacturer. smart, which is seeking $2.7 billion in damages. Murdoch told investors that the case was “fundamentally different” from Dominion’s and that Fox would have more protection than in a Delaware court hearing Dominion’s case. He predicted the case would not go to trial until 2025.
The Dominion settlement was reached on April 18, but was still announced in Fox’s fiscal third quarter, which ended March 31. Barring the legal expenses and other special items announced on Tuesday, it was a good financial quarter for Fox.
That was $494 million, or 94 cents a share, in adjusted earnings, compared to $459 million a year earlier. That was better than the 87 cents a share forecast by analysts polled by Refinitiv. The company was helped by a profit and revenue gain from broadcasting this year Super Bowl.
The company’s revenue rose 18% to $4.1 billion, slightly beating analysts’ forecasts. Much of that gain was due to a 43% rise in ad revenue, helped by $650 million in Super Bowl ads. Fox is not televising the Super Bowl in 2022.
Fox had plenty of cash to pay the settlement. It said it had $4.1 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of March 30, about three weeks before the settlement was reached. It also announced that it bought back $1.8 billion of its stock in the nine months ended March 31 as part of a $7 billion share buyback program. So far, Fox has repurchased $4.4 billion worth of stock as part of its plan.
Murdoch said Fox is in a better position than many other media companies to weather long-term delays and lost revenue. A strike by the Writers Guild of America. Like some programming Night programsIt is already dark due to the strike that started last week and other production Programs have been discontinued.
But Murdoch said the fact that Fox has more revenue and profit from sports and news not affected by the strike puts it in a better position.
“A healthy balance of scripted and unscripted content on the network puts us in a tremendous position,” he said.
The settlement was well known by investors ahead of the report. But despite better-than-expected results, Fox (Fox) Shares rose only about 1% in open market trading following the report.