News Corp reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit because of cable television and Fox broadcast network fees, even as the family-controlled company grapples with questions of who will lead it once Rupert Murdoch steps aside.
Fiscal first-quarter profit was $738 million, or 28 cents a share, down from $775 million, or 30 cents a share, last year.
The quarter's net income included costs related to the restructuring of its UK newspaper arm after a telephone-hacking scandal, fees spent on its failed bid for full control of BSkyB and other Sky Deutschland costs.
Excluding those items, profit was 32 cents a share. Analysts were expecting a profit of 29 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 7 percent to $7.96 billion.
These were very strong numbers beating our forecasts in every division on revenue and operating income except in publishing, said Collins Stewart analyst Thomas Eagan.
The September quarter was boosted by an 18 percent jump in operating income at its cable networks such as FX Network and Fox News on the back of a 13 percent rise in revenue.
The fees Fox received for carriage by cable and satellite distributors, rose by 9 percent in the United States and by 24 percent internationally.
News Corp's filmed entertainment unit operating profit rose by 24 percent thanks to the success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and home entertainment sales of Rio and X-Men: First Class.
Murdoch and his family have been under scrutiny for the last five months in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp's UK newspaper unit.
The scandal, which has seen senior executive resignations, the arrests of several staffers and the upending of News Corp's largest-ever acquisition deal, has put Murdoch's younger son James under the most pressure.
James Murdoch, once seen as a CEO successor to his father oversaw the UK unit involved in phone hacking. That position, which he held during the scandal, has raised questions among some industry experts about whether he is still a viable successor to Rupert Murdoch.
Last month, about two-thirds of non-Murdoch-affiliated News Corp B shareholders voted against reelecting James and his brother Lachlan on to the board.
But because the Murdoch family controls the company with a 39 percent share of the voting stock, even such a high negative vote was unable to oust the brothers.
(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke, editing by Bernard Orr and Robert MacMillan)