News Corp profits rise on gains in real estate, book publishing and news media

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News Corp said quarterly profit nearly sixfold, driven by strong growth in its digital real estate and book publishing businesses as well as the Wall Street Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones & Co.

The New York-based media company, whose holdings include the Journal, HarperCollins Publishers and news outlets in the UK and Australia, reported earnings of $196 million, or 33 cents per share, for the quarter. ended Sept. 30, compared with earnings of $34 million, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue increased 18% to $2.5 billion.

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In a call to discuss the company’s results, chief executive Robert Thomson touted content licensing payments from tech giants, including Google’s parent Alphabet Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc. – as Facebook recently rebranded itself – which he said would “contribute to annual revenue in the nine figures.” .”

The fastest growth came from the company’s real estate services division, which saw a 47% increase in revenue to $426 million and a 16% increase in segment profit to $138 million. The division includes a majority stake in REA Group Ltd., a publicly listed digital real estate company based in Australia, and an 80% stake in Move Inc., a Santa Clara, California-based online real estate company that operates the Realtor.com website.

News Corp’s news media business saw advertising revenue improve as the pandemic easing led marketers to increase spending.

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Dow Jones, publisher of the Journal, Barron’s and MarketWatch, reported a 15% increase in revenue to $444 million and a 32% increase in segment revenue to $95 million. Growth was primarily driven by improved broadcast and subscription revenue, higher advertising revenue and a $20 million contribution from the recent acquisition of Investor’s Business Daily, a financial news publication and research.

News Corp calculates segment profit as revenue less operating and administrative expenses. Segment profits exclude expenses such as interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, impairment and restructuring charges, and other items.

The Journal averaged more than 2.8 million digital-only subscribers in the quarter, up about 4% from more than 2.7 million in the June quarter. Including the print edition, the Journal averaged 3.5 million subscribers for the period. Across the unit, Dow Jones averaged 4.6 million subscribers in the quarter including readers of Barron’s, MarketWatch, Financial News and Investor’s Business Daily.

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News Corp’s news media segment, which includes the Sun, New York Post and Times in the UK, saw an 18% increase in revenue to $576 million, benefiting from higher revenue from digital subscribers and a rebound in the advertising market. The unit posted a segment profit of $34 million, compared with a loss of $22 million a year earlier.

A busy news period contributed to a digital subscription bonanza in the media sector. The New York Times said Wednesday it had one of its best quarters for digital subscription, adding 455,000 new online subscribers, including 320,000 for its core news offering and 135,000 for lower-cost products such as as Wirecutter, its product-review site.

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The Dow Jones unit of News Corp has decided to expand its subscription products aimed at professionals and investors. Beyond its recent acquisition of Investor’s Business Daily, Dow Jones said in August that it had agreed to buy OPIS, an information services company focused on the energy and commodities industries.

In remarks at an investor conference in September, Thomson said analysts expect professional services to grow into a $24.5 billion market by 2026.

“It’s a large and growing market and Dow Jones will play an increasingly important role in this large and growing market,” said Mr. Thomson.

News Corp’s book publishing division, which includes HarperCollins Publishers, increased revenue 19% to $546 million. The increase in revenue stems in part from the acquisition of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s books and media properties, a $349 million deal announced in March. Segment profit increased 20% to $85 million.

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News Corp said its video subscription unit, which owns the company’s majority stake in pay-TV service Foxtel in Australia, saw a 46% increase in segment profits due in part to lower costs. . The unit’s revenue rose 2.8% to $510 million.

Write to Benjamin Mullin at [email protected]

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