News a fil­lip for me­dia gi­ant

The Cairns Post - - BUSINESS - LILLY VITOROVICH

NEWS Corp has chalked up a 23 per cent jump in rev­enue for the past quar­ter, helped by its ex­ten­sive dig­i­tal real es­tate and book pub­lish­ing oper­a­tions.

The me­dia heavy­weight yes­ter­day booked rev­enue of $US2.52 bil­lion ($3.46 bil­lion) for the three months to Septem­ber, in line with mar­ket ex­pec­ta­tions.

That was up from $US2.06 bil­lion a year ear­lier.

Net in­come surged 47 per cent to $US128 mil­lion from $US87 mil­lion a year ear­lier.

News Corp chief Robert Thom­son said the new fi­nan­cial year was off to an “im­pres­sive start”.

The rev­enue and earn­ings growth reaf­firmed the com­pany’s strat­egy to “fo­cus on dig­i­tal devel­op­ment, and to put par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on sub­scrip­tions as the ad­ver­tis­ing mar­ket con­tin­ues to evolve”, Mr Thom­son said.

On a call with an­a­lysts and me­dia, he said the tran­si­tion to dig­i­tal con­tin­ued “and we will strive as a com­pany to change the con­tours of the con­tent land­scape for the sake of our busi­nesses and our so­ci­eties”.

News Corp was in “ac­tive ne­go­ti­a­tions” with tech­nol­ogy ti­tans Google, Face­book and Ama­zon, and was talk­ing to politi­cians and reg­u­la­tors in Aus­tralia, Europe, the UK and the US, he said.

Mr Thom­son said the pro­posal by ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Rupert Mur­doch for tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies to pay a car­riage fee for con­tent from trusted pub­lish­ers was “gather­ing mo­men­tum”.

On the con­fer­ence call, he de­scribed the ad­ver­tis­ing mar­ket as “choppy”.

New Corp, pub­lisher of mast­heads in­clud­ing the Cairns Post, The Aus­tralian and The Wall Street Jour­nal, re­ported strong paid dig­i­tal sub­scriber growth at many of its mast­heads.

At its Aus­tralian news­pa­pers, there were more than 440,000 dig­i­tal sub­scribers at the end of Septem­ber, com­pared with about 375,000 a year ear­lier.

The group’s news and in­for­ma­tion ser­vices busi­ness, which ac­counts for just un­der two thirds of its to­tal rev­enue, posted a 1 per cent in­crease in rev­enue to $US1.25 bil­lion.

News Corp’s dig­i­tal real es­tate ser­vices oper­a­tions booked an 8 per cent rise in rev­enue to $US293 mil­lion, thanks to con­tin­ued growth at REA Group, owner of the realestate.com.au web­site, and Move.

Its book pub­lish­ing busi­ness re­ported rev­enue growth of 4 per cent to $US418 mil­lion, boosted by strong sales of Girl Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hol­lis, The Other Woman, by Daniel Silva, and The Rus­sia Hoax, by Gregg Jar­rett.

News Corp’s earn­ings be­fore in­come, tax, de­pre­ci­a­tion and amor­ti­sa­tion jumped 44 per cent to $US358 mil­lion.

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