Lachlan K. Murdoch
Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at FOX
Thanks, Joe. Good afternoon, and thank you all for joining us to discuss our fourth quarter and fiscal 2021 results. At the outset, I want to emphasize the exceptional financial and operational results that we have delivered over the last year despite the challenges posed operating through the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus brought significant impact to our productions, through our processes and to our people. However, we stayed resolute and focused and demonstrated that even in the most unexpected and challenging of times, our focus on a handful of powerful, highly engaging brands produces exceptional results. Over the past fiscal year, we have reinforced the competitive advantages of our core brands, enhanced our digital capabilities, solidified our growth potential, returned $1.25 billion of capital to shareholders through buybacks and dividends, and otherwise, prudently allocated our capital. We have a strongly differentiated position in the market, which continues to benefit us to no end. But our greatest strength is our people, who have really stood up this year and performed extremely well under such difficult circumstances. I know myself, my father, the Board and the management team appreciate all their hard work and all their achievements this year.
In fiscal 2021, we generated revenue and profit, which exceeded even our own bullish expectations. Our affiliate revenue increased 9% year-over-year, which is net of the distribution credits that we recognized last fall due to COVID. Our advertising revenue was up 2%, which is tremendous when you recall that we broadcasted Super Bowl in the prior fiscal year, during which we generated around $500 million of net advertising revenue. Importantly, the fiscal fourth quarter saw these trends accelerate as quarterly revenues increased 20%, led once again by double-digit affiliate revenue growth and advertising revenue growth of 38%. This growth was underpinned by the ability of our core businesses to consistently deliver audiences at scale and capture the upward momentum of a rallying advertising market. We finished the fiscal year with historically strong upfront sales and are currently also enjoying sustained scattered demand with pricing at significant premiums. We finished the fiscal year strong, and we feel we are in a very good place or we are in a very good place with great momentum starting the new fiscal year.
FOX News Media continued its ratings leadership and its platform -- multi-platform growth in the fourth quarter. The FOX News channel was the most watched network in prime time across all of basic cable for the sixth consecutive year and notched its 78 straight quarter as the leading cable news channel in total viewers. While the year-over-year ratings comparisons are difficult due to last year's heightened news cycle, the FOX News channel has retained more of its audience than CNN and MSNBC since the presidential election. In fact, since the election, FOX News has solidified its leadership position in cable news, having reasserted its preelection market share. For total day audiences, FOX News increased its market share by 11% in the fourth quarter compared to the prior year, while CNN and MSNBC lost 9% and 3%, respectively, over that same period. From a prime time perspective, we once again find ourselves in a familiar position as we routinely see our ratings exceeding those of our peers combined. We are also pleased with the performance of FOX News Media's digital assets.
FOX News remain the most engaged news brand across social media channels, extending this run to nearly seven consecutive years. This is a critical pathway to reaching, engaging and growing the broadest possible audiences with the FOX News brand. On the last call, I told you that FOX Nation, the direct-to-consumer offering from FOX News Media, had recorded its strongest quarter for customer acquisitions since launch. In this quarter, thanks to new and expanded content offerings, FOX Nation once again notched its best ever quarter for customer acquisitions. Later this year, we will expand our FOX News Media portfolio further with the launch of FOX Weather. FOX Weather is just one example of how we plan to grow the FOX News brand across multiple verticals. And the power of our brands and the growth potential of their digital extensions was also on display at the FOX Network, with another round of ratings wins on broadcast and record-breaking results at Tubi. Fox is the home to the best entertainment programs in television, which, together with Sport, help propel the FOX Network to its second consecutive broadcast season as the top network in prime time among the key demo, adults 18 to 49. This fall, we have strongly performing returning hits and a slate of promising new shows. In particular, we are looking forward to the addition of two new dramas to our fall lineup.
These are The Big Leap and Our Kind of People. Fox has always thrived with shows featuring music and dance and The Big Leap, like Lee and so many others before it, lives right in that sweet spot. The Big Leap is an optimistic dramedy about second chances and chasing dreams. We think these themes are spot on coming out of the pandemic. Our Kind of People is inspired by Lawrence Otis Graham's book of the same name. It is executive produced by Empire creator Lee Daniels and stars Karen Gist. It's an absorbing story that takes place in the aspirational world of Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard. And I'm very pleased today to announce a new partnership with Gordon Ramsay, Studio Ramsay Global, which will acquire Gordon's current television business and will develop, produce and distribute new culinary and lifestyle programming across all FOX platforms, including Tubi. Now let's take a moment to talk about Tubi. At the end of the fiscal year, Tubi surpassed three billion hours streamed, up more than 50% over the prior year. During the recent June quarter, total view time surpassed 900 million hours, up more than 40% over the prior year quarter. We spoke about it together last quarter, but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of total view time, or TVT, as the critical metric for ad-supported streaming.
It is the best measure of burgeoning engagement on Tubi and correlates directly to the monetization of the platform. And there is no shortage of great content to keep audiences watching. Tubi leads the industry with the largest library of content with more than 35,000 movies and TV series available, and that library continues to expand with Tubi's first original movies, targeting genres that are informed by Tubi's machine learning capabilities and supported by tight production budgets. In just weeks, these titles have exceeded our financial and strategic objectives. Throughout the fall, we will modestly ramp the launch of Tubi originals, a number of which will be produced in-house by Fox Alternative Entertainment and our animation studio, Bento Box. But let me be crystal clear about one thing. Tubi's original programming strategy is very different from the strategies of an SVOD streamer. We have no interest or plans to invest in high-cost programming to drive subscriber acquisition as we are not in the subscriber business. We are focused on delivering programming that drives total viewing time and hence monetization in very short order. The return on our programming investment is measured in weeks, not years, and should be viewed through a completely different lens than investments in the SVOD universe.
We are in a very different space. It's a space focused on advertisers, and advertisers are increasingly seeking out Tubi as a leading platform to reach a younger audience that is both largely unduplicated from our traditional FOX audience and not regularly streaming other AVOD services. In the recent quarter, Tubi featured adds more than half of the Ad Age top 200 brands. With the reach and brand recognition of FOX behind it, Tubi nearly doubled the number of brands buying its inventory in the upfront and more than tripled its upfront dollar commitments over the prior year. Despite the COVID-related headwinds, earlier in the fiscal year, FOX Television Stations recorded core advertising revenue that was on pace with the prior year, when excluding the Super Bowl comp last year and the record political revenue in the current year. As just one example, the adoption of legalized gambling is driving increased advertising spend, particularly in Philadelphia and Detroit. We anticipate additional markets, including Arizona and Wisconsin, to launch legalized sports betting in fiscal '22.
The FOX Television Stations are particularly well positioned to capitalize on this opportunity, given the strength of our stations in these markets. FOX Sports also had a noteworthy year, expanding its ratings dominance in live sport while also extending and enhancing our long-term rights agreement with the NFL. We will remain not only the leader in football ratings but also the home of the premier NFC rights package through the 2033 season, thanks to our new multi-platform rights deal with our partners at the NFL, which includes the designation of FOX Bet as an authorized sports book operator of the league. We expect the company-wide momentum of fiscal '21 to carry into our current fiscal year. Macroeconomic trends bode well for a strong advertising market and brands are increasingly turning to our linear and digital assets to reach the largest collection of loyal and engaged viewers. The return of normal sports and entertainment schedules, coupled with the ongoing leadership of FOX News Media, will enable us to capitalize on the robust ad market.In addition to delivering strong underlying operating and financial results in fiscal '22, we are focused on expanding our digital businesses.
We are reinvesting a portion of the profits and free cash flow from our core businesses into the high growth and high opportunity digital assets that we know to be essential elements of our future. This past quarter also saw the completion of a wide range of transformational technology investments that provide us with a range of modern, state-of-the-art platforms that will power the growth of our businesses for years to come. These new capabilities include a new distribution and streaming operation in Arizona, due to brand-new data and advertising platforms that will underpin an evolving and advanced set of commercial offerings for clients across all of our products and services. These investments, now complete, position us strongly to seize on the growth opportunities that lie ahead. We continue to deploy capital in a responsible manner to support Tubi, the FOX News Media digital properties, including FOX Nation and the launch of FOX Weather as well as our other emerging digital businesses. We believe these investments, relatively modest compared to those being made by our peers in subscription streaming areas, will yield long-term significant returns and position us well to continue to adapt and take advantage of the evolving media landscape.
Now Steve will take us through the details of the fiscal year and the fourth quarter.