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Starz boosts Liberty Media’s 3Q results

Fri, 11/09/2007 - 7:35am
Mike Robuck

Liberty Media Corp. said third-quarter revenue and cash flows at its Starz Entertainment unit rose dramatically, but cash flow slipped at the company’s QVC shopping channel.

In October, Liberty’s shareholders approved a proposed reclassification of Liberty Capital common stock into two new tracking stocks. Liberty Capital Group includes the Starz cable networks while the Liberty Interactive Group is comprised of QVC and other interactive businesses. The John Malone-led company will include a third unit once Liberty completes its planned purchase of DirecTV.

The Liberty Capital Group almost doubled its operating income to $78 million from $40 million last year while Starz’s revenues rose 11 percent to $282 million. The increase in Starz’s revenue was the result of a $5 million increased distribution  rate to cable operators for the company’s services, and $6 million from more Starz subscribers.

Starz's average subscription units increased 7 percent during the quarter, while Encore’s average subscription units increased 9 percent.

"Starz Entertainment continued its momentum and, largely due to reduced programming costs, the business has experienced 59 percent year-to-date OCF growth," Starz Entertainment CEO Bob Clasen said in a prepared statement. "We are excited about our progress at Starz Media which is establishing itself as a quickly-developing, live action television production company. In the third quarter, Starz Media saw the start of production of four made-for-television movies and several TV series for various programming companies."

The Liberty Interactive Group posted a 10 percent drop in operating income from $257 million last year to $231 million. Quarterly revenue increased to $1.69 billion over last year’s $1.65 billion.

QVC CEO Mike George cited soft sales in the United States, Japan and Germany as part of the reasons for the company’s third-quarter performance.

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