Books, real estate pace beat for News Corp

Books, real estate pace beat for News Corp

The publishing group reported a net loss of $US1.4 billion for 2017/18, which was worse than the previous year's $US643 million.

News Corp. shares sank nearly 11 percent to $13.63 in NY, their biggest drop since the company split from Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Inc.in June 2013, after being down 5.9 percent this year through Thursday.

Elsewhere, News Corp's news and information segment, which includes its mastheads, grew quarterly revenues by 1% to $1.29 billion in the fourth quarter and by 1% to $5.12 billion in the fiscal year.

Revenue growth reflects the inclusion of Foxtel's results, continued strong growth in the Book Publishing and Digital Real Estate Services segments and a $29 million positive impact from foreign currency fluctuations.

Revenue topped $9bn, up 11 per cent, while before tax earnings rose 21 per cent to $1.1bn.

Revenues for the quarter rose to 29 percent to $2.69 billion from $2.08 billion a year ago. The company posted earnings of 8 cents a share, excluding some items, and revenue of $2.69 billion - both topping analysts' estimates.

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New Foxtel boss Patrick Delany, who took the reins in January in place of former chief executive Peter Tonagh, is set to launch new services next week after reporting that residential customer churn for cable and satellite was down over the quarter from 13.3 per cent to 12.5 per cent, while average revenue per customer declined 3 per cent over the same period due in part to the Company selling cheap Foxtel Now packages Vs a full home package.

CEO Robert Thomson reported confidence that new rights acquisitions, including cricket, would lift subscriber numbers at Foxtel. Since then, News Corp. has relied on its digital real-estate business for growth, while trying to reduce its exposure to newspaper advertising by adding more digital subscribers.

"HarperCollins' success underscores the importance of intelligent editors and great writers in creating premium content. Algorithms are, as yet, unable to write empathetic, compelling books".

Thomson said a new sports OTT streaming product, which is due to roll later this year, would help drive subscriptions and a Foxtel IPO is still on the cards. This consolidation will make circulation and subscription revenues the biggest revenue stream for News Corp for the first time, guarding the company against the volatile advertising market.

Five years ago News Corp underwent a restructure that saw its entertainment assets spun off into a separate company from its publishing businesses, including Harper Collins.

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