Rupert Murdoch's News Corp makes "aggressive" assault on digital growth as print problems mount

 
William Turvill
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News Corp publishes the Sun, Times and Sunday Times in the UK (Source: Getty)

Rupert Mudoch's News Corporation is making an "aggressive" assault on digital growth as its print advertising troubles mount.

The publisher of the Sun, Times, Sunday Times and Wall Street Journal newspapers reported a five per cent growth in revenue in the last quarter on Monday.

The figures

In the three months to 30 June, the company’s turnover was $2.2bn (£1.7bn), up from $2.1bn the year before.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) totalled $361m, including a one-time litigation settlement gain of $122m, up from $215m in 2015.

Read more: Project Juno: Newspapers put aside differences for united ad market assault

In the news and information services business, which includes the newspapers listed above, digital revenues now make up 23 per cent of total turnover, up from 19 per cent last year.

Revenue in this business, News Corp’s biggest, totalled $1.42bn, up one per cent year on year. But Ebitda was down five per cent to $160m.

Why it’s interesting

Excluding negative foreign currency fluctuations and a boost from having an extra week in the quarter, advertising revenues in the news and information business were down seven per cent.

News Corp pointed to “weakness in the print advertising market” when explaining this.

Read more: End of an era: "Sanitised" Fleet Street loses its last newspaper reporters

Chief executive Robert Thomson said: "While global print ad trends remain challenging at our news and information services segment, we are continuing our aggressive growth in digital, which now accounts for 23 per cent of segment revenues, up from 19 per cent last year."

City A.M. reported on Sunday that the Sun, Times and Sunday Times are involved in an investigation with other UK newspapers, called Project Juno, to see whether they can collectively take on ad market declines.

What the company said

Thomson:

With the advertising marketplace in upheaval and, rightly under increased scrutiny, we believe the need for trusted content and premium audiences will only increase. We are confident that News Corp’s unique portfolio and global distribution, combined with our focus on cost efficiencies, mean we are uniquely positioned to capitalize on broader social and commercial trends, and drive long-term value for investors.

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