News Corp Profits Up Despite Hacking Payouts

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Profits at media group News Corporation (NasdaqGS: NWS - news) rose by nearly two thirds in the final three months of last year, boosted by income from its US cable television networks.

Rupert Murdoch's media company, which runs the Fox television networks, 20th Century Fox movies and newspapers in the UK, US and Australia, said net income rose to £670m ($1.06bn) over the period, up from £395m ($624m) in 2010.

Profits in the cable network division rose from £464m to £557m over the quarter, and in the film they division grew from £119m a year ago to £248m.

News Corp is also a major shareholder in BSkyB (LSE: BSY.L - news) , which owns Sky News.

But News Corp, owner of the Times newspapers and formerly of the now defunct News Of The World, also saw a 43% decrease in income from its publishing division in the three months to the end of December 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.

Only earnings from Dow Jones (DJI: ^DJI - news) , which owns the Wall Street Journal, were up slightly over the period.

Mr Murdoch, News Corp's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement: "I am particularly pleased with the success of our business strategies in spite of the uncertain economic conditions that we continue to face."

The rise in profits helped offset the £55m ($87m) the firm paid out in charges related to the phone-hacking scandal.

The group expects a drop of about £95m ($150m) in the full-year contribution from its UK papers, driven by the closure of the News Of The World following the phone-hacking revelations.

News Corp has settled with 54 phone hacking victims so far, but the ongoing police investigations and legal proceedings are expected to keep the company's legal bills high in the near future.

Chief operating officer Chase Carey said: "In the UK, the impact from the closure of the News Of The World has been exacerbated by a very tough economy but as we've said many times we're committed to making things right in the UK."