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 first quarter results. We've started off the 2022 fiscal year strongly, supported by industry-leading affiliate revenue growth and the healthiest ad market we have seen in some time. This momentum is clearly seen across our operating businesses, which includes the return to a full slate of live events at FOX Sports, the expansion of ratings leadership at FOX News, and continued exceptional growth from Tubi.
Audiences are migrating to live news, sports and streaming, underscoring the operational and financial pillars that have defined our short history as Fox Corporation. This quarter continue to demonstrate the strength of our businesses, where we delivered 12% growth in top-line revenues, led by a 17% increase in advertising and near double-digit growth in affiliate revenues. On the advertising front, FOX is uniquely benefiting from a healthy national ad market, where brands are increasingly seeking out engaged real-time audiences at scale, the only live news and sports platforms deliver. This strong market is also benefiting Tubi and our FOX News Digital assets, which provide targeted audiences to advertisers across many platforms. And despite comparisons to a heavy political ad cycle last year, our local markets are also performing well.
On the affiliate revenue side, we again have best-in-class growth, reflective of the power that our core brands hold in the pay-TV universe. Our commitment to keeping our highest profile content, like the NFL, exclusive to our distribution partners, gives us confidence that the healthy annual price escalators we've commanded for our brands over the past renewal cycles will carry over into the next. While Steve will walk you through our financial performance in more detail shortly, I'll now turn to the operating highlights across our businesses.
You've heard of me before and all of our advertisers know well that FOX owns the fall through our football and baseball coverage at FOX Sports. And this fall is once again proof of that fact. NFL viewership is up across the industry, college football is back in full force, and we have just concluded a highly competitive Major League Baseball post-season. And throughout it all, FOX Sports has been expanding its live coverage to deliver viewers more of the content that they want. The NFL is off to a great start, seeing solid growth in overall viewership through the first eight weeks of the season. Excluding a rather complicated week one comparison, FOX's NFL viewership is up 8% over last year, and our schedule only gets better from here.
College football has also seen solid growth, by all measures, it's off to its best start in recent memory. Season to-date average viewership of our college football games on FOX is up nearly 20% over 2019, the most appropriate comparison given the postponements and cancellations that characterized last year's COVID impacted schedule. FOX's Marquee, Big Noon Window is averaging more than five million viewers, while our Saturday morning pre-game show, Big Noon Kickoff is also seeing viewership up nearly 20% over 2019 levels.
Moving from the football field to the baseball diamond, Major League Baseball has been a bright spot this year. The inaugural Field of Dreams Games again this summer was a great success, clocking nearly six million viewers and delivering the most watched regular season baseball game in 16 years. It drew -- it drew viewers and mass, notably women and teens, and from a business standpoint, was the highest revenue generating regular season game of all time. This game was something that only the FOX Sports team could envision and produce, definitely tapping into the nation's desire for an uplifting event underpinned by nostalgia and optimism. We all look forward to returning to Iowa in August '22 for next season's Field of Dreams Game. The momentum from the Major League Baseball regular season has translated into the post-season and what has been a superb World Series for FOX.
In fact, the World Series is the only content this season outside of the NFL to average over 11 million viewers and will easily outright the NBA Finals to rank as the Number 2 Championship Event in professional sports this year. And today, we are happy to announce the expansion of our international soccer portfolio with a landmark rights agreement for the UEFA European Championship. We will have access to more than 1,500 matches highlighted by the 2024 and 2028 Euros along with the UEFA Nations League, World Cup and Euro qualifiers and international friendlies. And this is on top of our existing international soccer portfolio, which as you know already boasts the FIFA Men's and Women's World Cups.
Importantly, we have also acquired sports betting rights alongside our coverage of these UEFA competitions, including integration opportunities with FOX Bet and FOX Bet Super 6, which are already benefiting from our existing sports rights portfolio. At the end of the quarter, the user base for FOX Bet Super 6 exceeded five million players, making it the biggest free-to-play sports betting game in the country. Beyond our direct investments and options in the wagering area, our national networks and local stations are benefiting from the legalization of gambling across the country, take the FOX Television Stations as an example.
Sports betting is only legalized in six of our 18 FOX markets. And yet, we have already written approximately 20% more sports betting revenue at this early point of the fiscal year than we did across all of fiscal '21 combined. This implies that this new category will end the year as one of the largest in local advertising. Staying with local advertising, the overall market trends for us are quite positive with travel, entertainment, and pharmaceutical categories proving particularly robust. While we continue to observe some softness in automotive, this is being more than offset by growth in other areas, including sports betting.
Excluding political spending, our core local advertising was up again this quarter. At FOX News Media, Linear and Digital segments are performing very well. The FOX News Channel has further solidified its leadership position in cable news, reaching market share levels that are now at multi-year highs. In both total day and primetime, the FOX News Channel accounted for over 50% of cable news viewership during the first quarter, more than CNN and MSNBC combined. This momentum has accelerated into the current quarter, with FOX News Channel accounted for 55% of total day and primetime cable news viewership in the month of October. And I should just say here as an aside, last night saw a viewership share of the FOX News Channel of 65% of all of cable news viewing, 65%.
The first quarter also marked the seventh straight quarter that the FOX News Channel was Number 1 in all of basic cable for primetime. And this ratings leadership continues even into the late-night hours. Gutfeld regularly outpaces nearly all late-night programs on cable and broadcast television, even besting the CBS Late Show with Stephen Colbert on select nights. At FOX Nation, the complementary streaming service to FOX News, our total subscriber count was up nearly 25% compared to last quarter and up over 130% compared to the same quarter last year. Not only our new subscribers seeking out FOX Nation, they're also staying with the platform longer. The first quarter was FOX News's highest quarter for engagement and the best quarter for subscriber retention.
The momentum at FOX Nation has continued into the current quarter with the addition of the iconic series, COPS. This show which was a staple of the FOX Network for so many years launched on October 1st and has quickly become one of the most popular titles on the platform. And we recently launched another digital product under the FOX News Media umbrella, FOX Weather. The FOX Weather app and its 24/7 free ad-supported streaming service debuted last week as the most downloaded free app in the app store and ahead of TikTok, YouTube and other social media platforms. Since launch, the FOX Weather app has been downloaded over one million times.
In just its first week of existence, users generated over 28 million pageviews and spent over 42 million minutes engaging with the product. Using the strength of our national and local news operations, we're excited about the prospects for FOX Weather and our ability to be a leading player in the space, delivering compelling live content to viewers and serving as a desirable platform for advertisers to reach, our valuable audiences. The FOX Weather streaming service is currently available for free on all FOX News Media digital properties, as well as on FOX NOW. The distribution and availability of FOX Weather will expand in the near-term, with a launch later this month on Tubi, followed by YouTube TV, and the major streaming platforms, making FOX Weather ubiquitously available well before the end of our fiscal year.
Our digital strategy is focused and sets FOX apart from its media peers. Our strategy is deliberately less capital intensive than what others in the industry are currently pursuing. Our approach to investment is to develop businesses that are extensions of rather than replacements for our existing lines of business, thereby creating revenue streams that are truly incremental to FOX. Tubi is a prime example of our unique approach to streaming compared to others in the media landscape. We program and monetize Tubi in distinct contrast to the SVOD approach of many other media companies and we're more than pleased with the results.
While others compete aggressively in the SVOD space, investing heavily in content and promotion, we identified the opportunity to be a leader in AVOD, a strategy which aligns with our advertiser and audience focused approach company-wide. As SVOD platforms faced the challenges of subscriber acquisition and retention and ever-increasing programming costs, FOX has carved out a differentiated and unique path. Tubi's measured investment in its content library and original programming is delivering solid returns. In addition to serving viewers with a content library of more than 35,000 titles, which is more than five times the size of Netflix's library, Tubi's unique original content strategy is already seeing early signs of success.
Out of the first four original films that Tubi released this year, two of which have performed so well in the quarter that they have already generated advertising revenue well above the local production costs, meaning they are already generating a positive return on investment. Tubi's deep understanding of its audience is a key asset as Tubi original movies outperformed blockbuster movies available on the platform. The growth at Tubi continues to exceed even our best expectations for the business when we acquired it. Tubi will generate significantly more revenue this fiscal year than our cost to purchase the platform in early 2020. In the first quarter of the fiscal year, Tubi more than doubled its revenues year-over-year. And total view time on the platform, TVT, Tubi's key metric continues to climb with 30% growth compared to last year. FOX's content and reach have supercharged Tubi's revenue and audience. News on Tubi, a collection of 70 news channels is anchored by live news from the FOX Television Stations and has drawn viewers for increasingly long periods of time.
Since launching last fall, News on Tubi viewership has grown over 130%, and Tubi continues to expand its linear offerings with the recent launch of Sports on Tubi, which further leverages FOX's content expertise with premium sports channels, including FOX Sports, the NFL Network and the MLB Network. Also FOX Entertainment recently acquired TMZ. The acquisition of TMZ fits perfectly with our focus on live programming and gives us an array of possibilities to rapidly expand our brand and platform that have long been one of the cornerstones of our local TV stations. FOX Entertainment is focusing on bringing the TMZ brand to all parts of the FOX portfolio, including further monetizing the TMZ brand across the FOX TV Stations, developing TMZ branded content for Tubi, and amplifying TMZ's digital presence.
Finally, and this is just a lot of fun. We are very pleased with the early results of our investment in Blockchain Creative Labs. Through this investment, we own a share of the underpinning marketplace and wallet technologies that power these next-generation experiences. We've recently launched the MaskVerse alongside the current season of The Masked Singer, in which fans of the show have downloaded over 120,000 NFT packs and created over 100,000 wallets on the platform. We look forward to the expansion of this business through our NFT partnership with the WWE. This further highlights the marketing power of the FOX Broadcast Network to drive new businesses and the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of all of us here at FOX.
Clearly, the fiscal year is off to an excellent start, and we are encouraged by the outlook for the rest of the year. Our strategy to focus on the broadcast of live event programming that audiences crave like sports and news, which coupled with the addition of Tubi puts us in an enviable competitive position. This intentionally differentiated portfolio and approach will further propel our growth and drive exceptional value for shareholders.
Now, Steve will take us through the financial details of the first quarter.