UPDATE: News Corp Execs Defend Fox Business, Question Hulu Sale Plans

UPDATE, 3:40 PM: Although the drama in today’s analyst call involved the News Of The World hacking scandal, News Corp execs made a few interesting points about the company’s less sensational business activities. COO Chase Carey says that the Hulu auction is “progressing largely according to plan.” But he left open the possibility that it won’t result in a sale, rhetorically asking “does it make sense to pursue that path or for us to stay in an ownership position?” He and Rupert Murdoch also said that they support the Fox Business Network, claiming it was just an oversight that they didn’t mention it when listing cable channels that are poised to grow. “The ratings are in fact improving,” Murdoch said, adding that “we need more distribution, it’s true.” Still he says Fox Business is breaking even on a cash flow basis. Carey also says that FX has the potential to become a bigger revenue generator. All told, Murdoch says that News Corp operations were “exceptional” in the last quarter providing the company with the “most robust balance sheet in our history.”

PREVIOUS, 1:19 PM: The media giant says that it did well in its fiscal fourth quarter — as long as you don’t count the $245M earnings hit from the MySpace sale. The company had net profits of $683M, down 22% from the period last year, on revenues of $8.96B, up 10.5%. Net earnings came in at 26 cents a share — but if you factor out MySpace they hit 35 cents. Analysts expected 30 cents. Read More »

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‘The Tourist’ Tanks Despite Johnny Depp & Angelina Jolie; ‘Narnia 3D’ Opens Very Weak #1; ‘The Fighter’ & ‘Black Swan’ Strong

SUNDAY PM/MONDAY AM - 7TH UPDATE: Did the Midwest blizzards depress box office? Well, not a single studio exec mentioned it to me, and usually they’ll hide behind any excuse… Here are the Top 10 North American movie grosses for Friday and Saturday and Sunday. Both Walden/Fox’s The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Read More »

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OSCAR: First Academy Screeners Arrived

Pete Hammond

And we’re off…  I received emails and calls from a couple of recently inducted Academy Award voters who reported that the first two screeners of the season arrived in their mailboxes Wednesday from Sony Pictures Classics. The studio beat the competition by … Read More »

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