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21st Century Fox to produce 20,000+ hrs of entertainment programmes in 2017

MUMBAI: This year, global media conglomerate 21st Century Fox will produce almost 500 original series, over 20,000 hours of entertainment programmes.

Speaking to analysts after the announcement of his company’s results, CEO James Murdoch said, “This year, across the group, we’ll produce almost 500 original series, over 20,000 hours of entertainment programmes.”

Murdoch had a word of praise for Star’s shows ‘Dil Hai Hindustani’ and ‘Neeli’. He noted that the company is continuing to make great progress in entertainment.

“From ‘Taboo’, ‘Legion’, ‘Fargo’, ‘Atlanta’, ‘Baskets’, ‘Archer’ and the ‘Americans’ at FX to ‘Star’, ‘24’, ‘The Mick’ and ‘Empire’ at Fox; ‘Genius’, ‘Mars’ and ‘The Story of God’ at National Geographic; ‘Gomorrah’, ‘Babylon Berlin’, ‘Fortitude’ and ‘The Young Pope’ at our affiliate Sky, and ‘Malleswari’, ‘Dil Hai Hindustani’ and ‘Neeli’ at Star, creatively, the business is firing on all cylinders and at a high volume and velocity,” he said.

Murdoch also noted that the power of sports can’t be overstated. “In the US, 88 of the top 100 most-viewed telecasts on television last year were live sports. And across all of our broadcasts, Fox Sports continued to deliver what we believe is a superior experience to viewers in terms of production, talent and technology, and we’re very proud of what the team is doing.”

Senior executive VP, CFO John Nallen noted that the company is seeing a strong return on investments in National Geographic and FX. He replied to a question on when the programming investments in Nat Geo and FX start to taper off in such a way that the programming expense growth moderates.

“On the expense trajectory, so this year was a step up for Nat Geo and FX. Actually, on a relative basis more for Nat Geo with products like Mars and Genius and everything else. So they’ve begun the ramp-up of what we call the 2.0 strategy. We’ll see a bit of it continuing into next year, but this year was the real ramp-up for Nat Geo. FX continues its trajectory towards its full schedule. We probably won’t fully get there in the current year, but given the product and the success of what FX has done and particularly the success of its product, not only on FX, but on other markets, that’s an investment that the returns are just fabulous on.”

Executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch pointed out to the success of ‘Taboo’. “I think you can already look at ‘Taboo’, which premiered three or four weeks ago, which is the first part of that extra programming expense, and it’s been a terrific success doing that, and we’re very happy.”