Economy

Books, real estate pace beat for News Corp

Books, real estate pace beat for News Corp

News and Telstra in April combined their 50% interests in Foxtel and News Corp's 100% interest in Fox Sports Australia into a new company.

News Corp Australia reported growth in digital advertising revenues, however overall revenue was down 3 per cent over the quarter.

News Corp posted a 29% lift in full year revenue to $US2.69 billion.

News Corp has fallen to a $1.4bn loss for the year 2017/18, over double its comparable losses for the previous year which stood at a more manageable $643m - although this year's figures were skewed by a one-off $998m write down relating to the consolidation of Foxtel and Fox Sports in Australia.

In Q4, Digital Real Estate segment revenues increased 20% y-o-y to $299 million, and the segment's EBITDA further grew 14% y-0-y to $99 million, largely due to continued growth at REA Group and Move. According to the company's internal figure, closing digital subscribers at News Corp Australia's mastheads as of June 30, 2018 were 415,600, compared to 363,600 in the prior year.

"Improving subscription volumes will be key to our long-term value creation" for that business, Panuccio also said, adding over-the-top (OTT) "will be a key growth initiative and our goal will be to maintain the broadcast subscriber base and manage churn effectively".

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Robert Thomson, the chief executive, said the group had gone through a year of "operational and transformational success" and pointed to revenue growth in its online real estate businesses such as realestate.com and its book publishing division led by Harper Collins. As a outcome, the company is focused on driving higher penetration of digital paid subscriptions, particularly in Australia and at News UK in fiscal 2019.

"News Corp is now a more substantial company after the Foxtel transaction, with a much higher percentage of recurring, subscription-based revenues, which should help offset a volatile advertising environment", he said. The new Foxtel is focused on product innovation and leveraging its valuable content.

Foxtel's revenues were flat with the positive impact from foreign currency fluctuations offset by falling subscription numbers and lower advertising revenues.

While reporting News Corp.'s Q2 results in a February 8 earnings call, Thomson pointed out: "Clearly, there are profound changes taking place in the creation and the distribution of digital content".

"We are marking five years since our separation and are confident News Corp has a lustrous future, built on a strong digital and global foundation".


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