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Television Segment Reports 34% EBITDA Growth.

Business Editors

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--February 9, 2000

The Fox Entertainment Group (NYSE:FOX)

QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS

Fox Television Stations' second quarter EBITDA increases 12% on

the strength of local advertising markets and market share gains.

Fox Broadcasting significantly improves earnings contributions

despite weaker ratings.

Cable Network Programming pro forma EBITDA grows by $33 million

due to significantly higher Fox Sports Networks contributions and

reduced losses at the Fox News Channel.

Disappointing results from Anna and the King and a difficult

comparison to previous year's Titanic success reduces Filmed

Entertainment segment EBITDA.

The Fox Entertainment Group (NYSE: FOX) today reported second quarter operating income before depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $319 million on revenues of $2.4 billion, as compared to prior year second quarter EBITDA of $330 million and revenues of $2.6 billion.

 3 Months Ended 6 Months Ended
 December 31, December 31,
Consolidated EBITDA 1999 1998 1999 1998
 $ Millions $ Millions

Filmed Entertainment $44 $172 $106 $306
Television 243 182 423 335
Cable Network Programming 32 (24) 70 (39)
Consolidated EBITDA $319 $330 $599 $602


Equity in earnings of affiliates improved in the quarter to earnings of $38 million from a loss of $24 million last year primarily due to the significant increase in Fox Family's contribution as a result of a gain related to the Fox Kids Europe initial public offering and improvements at Fox Sports Cable Networks. The Fox Family gain included in the Company's equity earnings of affiliates and net income was approximately $61 million and $39 million, respectively.

Net income was $94 million ($0.13 per share) for the quarter as compared to the prior year results of $105 million ($0.17 per share). The weighted average number of common shares outstanding for the quarter increased to 724 million, reflecting the full weighting of the shares issued in connection with the Fox Entertainment Group's IPO in November 1998 and the issuance of 51.8 million shares to News Corporation in connection with the July 1999 acquisition of substantially all of Liberty Media Corporation's 50% interest in Fox Sports Networks.

Commenting on the results, President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin said:

&uot;We are very pleased with our second quarter results. With the exception of the film studio, all of our business segments reported double digit growth during the quarter. Our television segment posted a 34% increase in EBITDA for the quarter on the strength of both a robust advertising climate and a ratings rebound at the Fox Broadcasting Network in the last half of the earnings period. Underscoring our growth was the extraordinary performance of the Fox television station group, which for the first time reported an operating profit of more than $100 million in a single month - November.

&uot;Our cable operations - still in their infancy but growing quickly increased subscribers and profits last quarter, with Fox Sports Net, Fox News Channel and the FX Channel closing the gap on long-established competitors.

&uot;In new media, News Corporation and Fox Entertainment Group entered into an agreement with Healtheon/WebMD which collectively gives News and Fox an approximate 10.8% stake in the company in exchange for branding services and other assets. The deal helps Fox achieve its goal of building a multi-media, multi-revenue business in the trillion dollar healthcare industry.&uot;

Mr. Chernin continued: &uot;While we were disappointed with the results of Anna and The King, we are encouraged by the strength of our upcoming movie slate, with movies featuring the talents of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jim Carrey and the Farrelly brothers, who this summer will release the follow-up to their 1998 hit movie There's Something About Mary. We also note that this is likely to be the last quarter in which our numbers will face the difficult comparison to the previous year's Titanic successes.&uot;

FILMED ENTERTAINMENT

Filmed Entertainment reported second quarter EBITDA of $44 million, compared to $172 million in the same period a year ago. Prior year results included the international video sales of Titanic, in addition to strong international theatrical performances of Dr. Dolittle and There's Something About Mary. This quarter's results also include losses related to the theatrical release of Anna and the King and Light It Up, which were partially off-set by contributions from domestic and international pay television agreements covering available films. Additionally, 20th Century Fox finalized a new output agreement in December with HBO for the Pay TV rights for all 20th Century Fox theatrical releases in calendar years 2004 through 2009.

At Twentieth Century Fox Television (TCFTV) several new series continued to deliver strong performances. Judging Amy is the most watched new drama this season and is CBS's No. 1 rated show on Tuesdays, while Stark Raving Mad on NBC is the top rated new show in all key demographics. Several returning shows maintained their strong appeal as evidenced by their No. 1 time period ratings including Ally McBeal, The Simpsons and The X-Files on Fox and The Practice, Dharma &Greg and Two Guys and a Girl on ABC.

TELEVISION

Improved performance in the Television segment increased EBITDA 34% to $243 million, against last year's comparable Television segment results.

At Fox Television Stations (FTS), EBITDA grew 12% on a comparable revenue increase. Despite the absence of last year's political spending, FTS' advertising markets are estimated to have grown 8% in the quarter compared to a year ago due to strong spending by e-commerce companies and the automotive industry. FTS increased its market share to 21% on particularly strong results in several of the largest markets reflecting the popularity of recent programming changes.

Higher advertising revenues from the strong upfront sales at Fox Broadcasting Company (FBC), and the current buoyant advertising environment, were essentially offset by higher programming costs and lower primetime ratings. Despite these factors, FBC reported significantly improved earnings contributions primarily reflecting the absence of last year's World Series broadcast related losses and FBC's new economic arrangement with its affiliates. More recent ratings trends are encouraging with Fox's new Malcolm in the Middle delivering an improvement compared to the previous shows in that time period. By purchasing half of the NASCAR auto racing rights beginning in 2001, FBC, the FX Channel and Fox Sports Net also strengthened their future sports programming.

CABLE NETWORK PROGRAMMING

Cable Network Programming, comprising the Fox News Channel, Fox Sports Networks, Los Angeles Dodgers and other cable related businesses, reported second quarter EBITDA of $32 million compared to an EBITDA loss of $1 million on a pro forma basis in the prior year. These results primarily reflect the increased earnings contributions from Fox Sports Networks (including the Regional Sports Networks and the FX Channel) and year over year declining losses at the Fox News Channel.

For the quarter, Fox Sports Networks' EBITDA contributions more than doubled reflecting a 30% revenue increase as compared to the prior year's pro forma results. Virtually all Regional Sports Networks reported revenue and earnings increases primarily due to higher subscriber revenues. Significantly improved performance at the FX Channel reflects increased advertising sales and subscriber revenues driven in part by a 33% increase in average audience. The FX Channel currently has over 45 million subscribers with commitments to raise that total to 55 million over the next few years.

The Fox News Channel (FNC) improved its second quarter EBITDA by over 63% due to increased subscriber and advertising revenues. FNC's primetime ratings grew 19% as compared to the second quarter a year ago and surpassed those of MSNBC by 17%. The channel now has 45 million subscribers with commitments to raise that total to 54 million.

Equity in earnings of affiliates improved in the quarter to earnings of $38 million from a loss of $24 million last year primarily due to the significant increase in Fox Family's contribution as a result of a gain related to the Fox Kids Europe initial public offering and improvements of Fox Sports Cable Networks. The Fox Family gain included in the Company's equity earnings of affiliates and net income was approximately $61 million and $39 million, respectively.

Fox Sports Cable Networks:

Increased profits at RPP combined with higher subscriber revenue and reduced operating costs at Speedvision and Outdoor Life Network had a positive effect on Fox Sports Cable Networks Domestic.

A 28% increase in subscribers and higher advertising revenue partially related to the broadcast launch of Caribbean baseball resulted in reduced losses at Fox Sports Cable Networks International.

Fox Family Worldwide

EBITDA was unchanged in the second quarter primarily due to higher subscriber revenue and lower programming costs, which were offset by declines in advertising revenues at Fox Family Channel. Fox Family Worldwide's 7% revenue decline primarily resulted from the absence of direct-to-video releases, which had only a marginal earnings contribution in the prior year.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 9, 2000
Words:1457
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