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Earnings Preview: Fox ratings in focus in 1Q earns

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November 4, 2013 07:04 AM EST | AP


LOS ANGELES (AP) — The latest results from 21st Century Fox, the entertainment media company controlled by Rupert Murdoch, will likely show the impact of declining broadcast TV ratings and the absence of political ad spending that boosted last year's numbers. It reports its fiscal first-quarter earnings after the market closes on Tuesday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Following its split from News Corp. in June, the company is more focused on its TV and movie assets. While revenue from TV distributors and advertisers is likely to rise for pay TV networks such as Fox News Channel and FX, one issue to watch for is the impact of a decline in audience ratings at its Fox broadcast network.

Bernstein Research analyst Todd Juenger said in a research note that Fox's prime-time ratings were down 21 percent in the quarter compared to a year ago. The broadcast network also faces a tough comparison because of last year's political ad spending.

WHY IT MATTERS: 21st Century Fox is one of the world's largest entertainment companies. How it handles new technology could affect the way consumers get their entertainment. The business also relies on advertising revenue, which is a barometer of the wider economy.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts polled by FactSet expect earnings of 34 cents per share on revenue of $6.8 billion.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: Last year, the combined News Corp. posted adjusted earnings of 43 cents per share on revenue of $8.14 billion, although that quarter's results included its newspaper, book publishing and other operations prior to the split.