News Corp ‘firmly on track’ for fourth quarter

News Corp has posted a slight fall in revenue in the third quarter of the financial year, blaming the 2 per cent drop largely on foreign currency fluctuation and lower advertising revenue in its news divisions.

Revenues were $2.06 billion in the three months ending March 31, compared to $2.08 billion in the equivalent period the previous year.

Chief executive Robert Thompson said News Corp’s acquisition of real estate websites and Move had proven to be good choices.

“News Corp is now a global leader in digital real estate, which we believe will underpin long-term expansion, and complement our expertise in news and financial analysis,” Mr Thompson said in a statement.

“The new News Corp continues to build a firm foundation for digital growth.”

He said the fourth quarter was “firmly on track,” despite the revenue challenges in the News and Information Services division, which saw a revenue drop of $135 million, or 9 per compared to the previous year.

Advertising revenue decreased 12 per cent due to foreign currency fluctuation, a poor advertising market for print media, as well as high legal costs at News America Marketing. There were also multimillion-dollar fees and costs associated with legal action around the UK phone hacking scandal.

Mr Thompson described advertising revenue at News Corp Australia as “reasonably stable,” despite a 4 per cent drop.

At The Australian, Mr Thompson said, “digital subs now account for 40 per cent of its overall weekday volume.”

Foxtel subscribers grew by 7 per cent year-on-year, Mr Thompson said. The pay TV provider now has around 2.8 million subscribers.

A 21 per cent jump in revenue was experienced by REA Group, which is majority-owned by News Corp Australia. The company publishes, which holds the majority of residential property listings in Australia. REA took in $384 million in revenue.

  • 21st Century Fox, the entertainment company created when News Corp de-merged into separate publishing and entertainment businesses, has reported income of $990m, slightly below last year’s results of $1.07b. Revenue is $6.84b, under the $8.22b reported in the prior year. Analysts’ forecasts for 39-cent share prices proved an underestimation, as revenue was in line with share prices of around 46 cents.

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