News Corp boosts revenue, profit

News Corp has released its quarterly and half-yearly results as a global company, with the CEO calling for ‘regulatory awakening’ and ‘regulatory reckoning’ in digital media.

News Corp revenue for the second quarter reached $2.63bn, a 21 per cent increase from the previous year, which the company says reflects the consolidation of Foxtel and continued strength at the Book Publishing and Digital Real Estate Services segments.

Net income for the quarter was $119m, compared to a net loss of $66m in the previous corresponding result.

Its News and Information Services segment globally decreased revenue by $41m, or three per cent, from from the previous corresponding period (pcp), though News Corp Australia revenues declined by five per cent.

Circulation and subscription revenues increased by one per cent, however the fall of advertising revenues by five per cent more than offset the gains made.

In Book Publishing, revenue increased by 13 per cent for the quarterly results, from $78m to $88m, also beating the previous HY results by 24 per cent, reaching $156m from $126m in the pcp. While on the surface this seems like unabashed good news for print, digital sales are also included within the segment, and grew by 12 per cent. Most of the revenue increases did come from print however, as the digital sales are only 17 per cent of the full consumer revenues within the segment.

Robert Thomson, chief executive, News Corp, says, “News Corp reported increased profitability and revenue growth during the first half of Fiscal 2019, highlighting the power of premium content and authenticated audiences in a fact-challenged world that craves credibility.

“For the second quarter, the Company saw 21 per cent revenue growth and a 13 per cent rie in profitability, reflecting the consolidation of Foxtel and a healthy expansion of revenues in the Book Publishing and Digital Real Estate Services segments.

“At News and Information Services, we saw a continuation of positive trends in paid digital subscriptions, including accelerating gainst at The Wall Street Journal, and stronger digital advertising revenues in both the U.S. and Australia.

“Although our teams have been diligent in pursuing revenue opportunities, the digital platforms, which arbitrage algorithmic ambiguity, remain dysfunctional. It is clear that there has been a regulatory awakening and the time has come for a regulatory reckoning.”

What this ‘regulatory awakening’ would mean for publishing in Australia is unclear.

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