Digital rentals and downloads through sites like iTunes and Amazon are the main factor in the healthy growth of News Corp’s home video business, News Corp president and COO Chase Carey said in the company’s Q3 earnings call Wednesday afternoon.
Fox’s cable TV business made up the vast majority of News Corp’s profits for the quarter ending March 31, contributing $993 million of the $1.36 billion in operating income for the period. Total revenues were $9.54 billion, up 14 percent over the previous year.
The overall home video market is up five percent and “we’re up a bit more than that,” Carey said. “The driving force is digital…the overall marketplace continues to grow really well, and digital is becoming a growing part of what we do.” He also said that the DVD business has stabilized, “with Blu-Ray offsetting the decline in the older formats,” and that “really low-priced rentals” through services like Redbox are “becoming less of a force.”
In response to an analyst’s question about the future of Hulu, Carey said that the service has “great momentum,” and “we’re particularly excited about subscriptions” through Hulu Plus. “There’s an important role for Hulu Classic in the marketplace,” he said, but “we need to develop the dual-revenue side of it.” In a few years, he said, “Hulu will look a bit different than it does today,” partly in response to changes in Netflix’s business: “Netflix talks about evolving their business to somewhat different business models” (he didn’t elaborate on what those are).
When asked to offer general advice to the broadcast networks, Carey said they are still the “viewership leaders,” but acknowledged the networks might need to “be a bit more targeted in the types of series [they] invest in…networks have been more about the volume game, stuck in historical practices…Do you need to break some of those rules? The answer is clearly yes.”