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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 November, 2003, 22:01 GMT
DVD sales lift News Corp
Rupert Murdoch
Mr Murdoch has reason to smile
Profits at Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation have surged ahead thanks to strong sales of DVDs at its film unit.

The media conglomerate reported a net profit of $422m (253m) for the first quarter, up from $162m in the same period last year.

Excluding a gain of $36m from a share sale, its profits were $386m - well ahead of analysts' expectations.

Revenue was up to $4.6bn, a 22% rise on last year's figure of $3.8bn.

Home entertainment

The biggest rise in revenues came from News Corp's Hollywood film unit.

The business saw operating income leap to $328m from $100m in the same period last year.

The gains were put down to higher sales of films and TV programmes for home entertainment, with the films Daredevil and Phone Booth being particularly successful.

Elsewhere in the News Corp empire, the Fox News Channel enjoyed strong advertising revenues.

Operating income at its cable networks unit, which includes Fox News, rose 23%.

News Corporation owns the Sun and Times newspapers in the UK, and also has a major stake in satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Controversy has surrounded BSkyB in recent days following the appointment of James Murdoch - Rupert's son - as chief executive of the firm.

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