News Corp tops estimates as Foxtel, books unit drive gains

News Corp tops estimates as Foxtel, books unit drive gains

The combination of the Digital Real Estate Services and Subscription Video Services is expected to account for significantly more than half of News Corp profits.

Revenue at key news and information services segment, which includes Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, rose 1 percent from a year ago to $1.29 billion. Fox is now undergoing another breakup, with a plan to sell most of its TV and film assets to Walt Disney Co.

Total News Corp. revenue jumped 29% to $2.69 billion, while its loss narrowed to $372 million (64 cents a share) from $430 million (74 cents a share).

Foxtel contributed US$610 million to News Corp's overall revenue in the fourth quarter ended June 30. The company posted earnings of 8 cents a share, excluding some items, and revenue of $2.69 billion - both topping analysts' estimates.

"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".

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with News providing financial news and services.

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Robert Thomson, chief exec of News Corp, still described the year as an "operational and transformational success" as the company switched the flow of its revenues to being digital and subscriber based.

Pro forma Segment EBITDA for fiscal 2018 decreased $154 million, or 22%, compared with the prior year, primarily due to $90 million of higher sports programming costs, mainly related to the Australian Football League and National Rugby League rights, as well as lower subscription revenues despite rising subscriber numbers.

"We generated strong revenue and Segment EBITDA growth in the Digital Real Estate Services and Book Publishing segments, which, together with the consolidation of Foxtel, drove over $1 billion in profitability for the year", he says.

Mr Thomson told an analyst briefing the "absolute focus" of the company in Australia would be the integration of Foxtel and Fox Sports, rather looking to buy a new business.

"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". The decline was partially offset by the growth in digital advertising revenues at News Corp Australia and News UK, increase in advertising revenues at Wireless Group and the positive impact from foreign currency fluctuations.

"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".