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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 21:51 GMT 22:51 UK
TV adverts boost News Corp profit
Fox TV show American Idol
Fox TV's American Idol is one of the highest rated shows in the US
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp group has thanked rising advertising sales for an increase in profits.

Net profits jumped to $820m (439.5m) - or 26 cents a share - during the third quarter of the year compared with $400m in the same period last year.

Strong advertising at its TV units helped the group to offset a fall in its film and newspaper operations.

The US media group also unveiled plans to double its current share buyback programme from $3bn to $6bn.

It added that the board had backed plans for the firm to repurchase its shares "from time to time".

Under a scheme launched in 2005, News Corp has already bought back $2.5bn in stock.

"This $3 billion step-up clearly reinforces our view that repurchases of News Corporation shares are among the best uses of our cash in today's environment," Mr Murdoch said in a statement.

Viewers boost

Across the business, strong ratings for its Fox TV operations helped buoy advertising sales - helping its television business to grow by 29%.

American Idol, one of America's top rated shows is broadcast on Fox, are the drama series 24 and House.

However, its film operations - which include 20th Century Fox studios - operating profit fell to $225m from $251m a year ago.

But, the group said it expected revenues from the unit to rise in the current quarter boosted by the release of its long-awaited sequel to the animated adventure Ice Age.

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