News Corp reports subscriptions surge in all titles
NEWS Corp says it has benefited from continued digital momentum with subscriptions to newspapers in Australia up by a third in the past year.
News’ chief financial officer Susan Panuccio said Australian mastheads, including the Bulletin, had made good progress with efforts to ease more readers into the habit of paying for digital content.
“Across the News Australia mastheads, we now have approximately 360,000 paid subscribers ... over 30 per cent higher from the prior year,” Ms Panuccio said in an analysts’ call for the company’s fourthquarter results.
The figures included the acquisition of Australian Regional Media, a purchase which helped to keep the quarterly decline in advertising revenues to 1 per cent.
News also announced it had lifted its full- year earnings before interest and tax by 29 per cent on a year ago, to $ US885 million ($ 1.13 billion) despite challenging market conditions.
However, a series of writedowns related to fixed assets at its Australian and UK newspapers, its investment in Foxtel and higher tax expenses saw it post a full- year loss of $ US643 million.
Revenue for the year was $ US8.14 billion, down 2 per cent on the $ US8.29 billion posted in the previous year, with the contraction amplified by a shorter reporting period.
Digital real estate remains one of the jewels in the crown for News, with the division accounting for 40 per cent of group profit in the past year.
Chief executive Robert Thomson said News had been successful in charging a premium for top- tier digital real estate content during the year, and that he expected earnings from the sector to expand.
“We saw tangible improvement in profitability, powered by the fast- growing digital real estate services segment, and we charged a premium for premium content,” he said.
News- controlled online real estate platform REA Group yesterday reported a 12 per cent rise in full- year profit to $ 228 million.