Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp slumped to a loss in its fiscal year as the company was hit by advertising market woes.
The US company, which operates across newspapers, book publishing, TV and digital real estate services (the company owns US property portal Realtor.com), reported a loss from continuing operations of $643m (£495m) in the year to 30 June. This compared with income of $235m the previous year.
Revenues were down two per cent, from $8.29bn to $8.14bn.
News Corp, which owns newspapers in the UK, US and Australia, put the turnover decline down to lower print advertising revenues. Revenues in its news and information services business were down five per cent to $5.1bn.
The company, which also wns Harper Collins, reported a one per cent decline in book publishing revenues to $1.6bn.
Elsewhere, its digital real estate turnover was up 14 per cent to $938m and its cable network programming business reported a turnover of $494m, up two per cent.
News Corp, which owns the Sun, Times and Sunday Times newspapers in the UK, reported advertising revenues in its news and information business of $2.61bn, down seven per cent. Turnover was also hit by “foreign currency fluctuations”.
It wasn’t all bad news, however, as the company’s digital news offering became more important through the year. Digital revenues now make up 25 per cent of the news business’s total, up from 22 per cent.
The Times and Sunday Times had 201,000 digital-only subscribers at the end of the year, up from 182,500 the year before. The Sun, which unlike the Times is free online, attracted 85m global average monthly unique users in June. And the Wall Street Journal reported 1.3m daily digital-only subscribers.
News Corp is a separate company from Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, which has agreed a deal to buy Sky in the UK.
Chief executive Robert Thomson said:
Fiscal 2017 was a significant year for News Corp as we saw tangible improvement in profitability, powered by the fast-growing digital real estate services segment, and we charged a premium for premium content while focusing on operating efficiencies.
News Corp led the global debate about content value and values, prompting the digital platforms to address a dysfunctional content eco-system, in which the fake and the fraudulent have flourished.
We are now in advanced discussions with those platforms over the creation of payment mechanisms for news of verified veracity.