Shares of MSG Networks (NYSE: MSGN) slumped on Wednesday after the sports media company reported its fiscal fourth-quarter results. MSG missed analyst estimates for both revenue and earnings, and its subscriber base shrank. The stock was down about 12.8% at 3:15 p.m. EDT today.
Fourth-quarter revenue was $168.4 million, down 2% year over year and about $2.5 million below the average analyst estimate. Affiliation fee revenue declined by $3.3 million, due to a 6.5% drop in subscribers and the lack of a favorable adjustment recorded in the prior-year period. Advertising revenue was up $900,000, driven by higher sales related to live professional sports programming.
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Earnings per share came in at $0.54, down from $0.60 in the prior-year period and $0.10 below analyst expectations. Direct operating expenses rose 2% due to annual contractual rate increases, while selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) expenses soared 33%. The SG&A expense increase included some spending that is "not indicative of the company's core expense base."
"While the media landscape is clearly evolving, as we look ahead, we remain firm believers in the value of live sports content and see continued opportunities to create long-term value for shareholders," said CEO Andrea Greenberg in prepared remarks included in the press release.
Following the earnings miss, analysts at Evercore downgraded the stock to underperform, noting a worsening outlook for subscriber trends and affiliate renewal rates.
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