Wednesday, May 10, 2017

News Corp Quarterly Revenue Beats On Higher Ad Revenue

News Corp reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue as the owner of the Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal saw an uptick in its digital real estate business and growth in its advertising revenue.

Shares of the company, controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, were up 2.2 percent in extended trading on Tuesday.

While News Corp's earnings are still under pressure amid print advertising declines, they have been stabilizing with continued cost-cutting efforts and investments in the company's digital businesses to boost margins.

Revenue in the company's news and information division, which accounts for over 60 percent of total revenue, rose to $1.26 billion as the transition to digital platforms pays off.

The company said digital subscribers accounted for 53 percent of total subscriptions for the Wall Street Journal, up from 44 percent a year earlier.

The subscription numbers suggest that there is an appetite for "premium news" and "thoughtful commentary", Chief Executive Robert Thomson said on a call with analysts.

The Trump administration's combative view of traditional news media as "fake news" is helping out newspapers, which are struggling, to attract more digital readers and advertisers.

News Corp's advertising revenue rose 5.1 percent to $705 million. However, gains were partially offset by weakness in the print advertising market.

The company said revenue in its high-growth digital real-estate business jumped nearly 13 percent to $219 million.

The business includes REA Group Ltd (REA.AX), an Australian company which advertises property and property-related services on websites and mobile apps, and Move Inc, which operates in the United States and other countries.

News Corp, which owns book publisher HarperCollins, said revenue from its book publishing business rose 4.5 percent to $374 million helped by strong sales of Margot Lee Shetterly's "Hidden Figures".

Net loss available to shareholders narrowed to $5 million, or 1 cent per share, in the third quarter ended March 31, from $149 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier, when the company took a charge of $280 million.

Excluding items, the company earned 7 cents per share, beating the average analysts' estimates of 5 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

News Corp also posted better-than-expected third quarter revenue of $1.98 billion, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier.

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