Since media conglomerate News Corp
Revenue growth was flat this time around, increasing a slight 1.6% from the same quarter last year, to $6.7 billion. Operating income decreased 3% to $920 million due to increases in selling, general, and administrative expenses. Total GAAP net income rose nearly 180% to $1.08 billion, or $0.33 per diluted share. Included in this was $381 million of benefit -- recorded on a disposition, however, so let's back that out. The resulting income number becomes $694 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, which still represents a nice 80% gain compared to the year-ago period.
The six-month stats show a better increase in revenues. Sales jumped 5.5% to $12.3 billion. Operating income increased 6% to $1.8 billion. Income minus that aforementioned gain rose 26% to $1.3 billion, or $0.39 per diluted share.
News Corp had some trouble with its filmed entertainment segment in particular, illustrated by the 27% drop in operating income; the slate of product this quarter just didn't perform as well as the previous quarter's lineup. The Fox Network helped to drive a 20% increase in operating income for the television operations, while cable networks continued their stellar run, achieving a 15% jump in profits (watch out, CNBC, because Fox is on the hunt with a new channel proposal). The satellite division reported a loss, book publishing realized a 24% gain in operating income due to its distribution of The Chronicles of Narnia tomes, magazines displayed low single-digit growth, and newspapers saw a precipitous drop in performance.
Overall, from a top-line and operating perspective, the quarter wasn't exhilarating. News Corp, however, is a large organization, so some nice contributions from other income (such as equity earnings) helped boost the bottom line. The six-month timeframe does look a lot better than the last quarter, so that's something for shareholders to focus on. Operational cash flow, however, did decline the last six months by 53%, driven in part by increases in receivables and inventories. Free cash flow was down over 90%, coming in at $49 million.
That drop in free cash won't warm the heart of any Fool, especially if one takes into account all the expenditures spent on acquisitions. But I wouldn't write News Corp off just yet. The company has a great collection of assets which distribute and supply content; as such, there are bound to be soft quarters every now and then from the perspective of certain metrics. Keep in mind that a media conglomerate like this will always be investing for the future -- if you believe in Rupert Murdoch's Internet strategies, then you'll probably want to hold on to see how investments in this area pan out.
You can see that this quarter wasn't as appealing as News Corp's last report, which showed better top-line and operating growth. The media sector has been animated lately, with Viacom
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