News Corp's global ad revenue dips 5%; REA's profit jumps

By Sarah Homewood & Lindsay Bennett | 9 August 2016

News Corporation has revealed its latest set of global results, with the media behemoth reporting revenues of USD$2.2 billion for the year, which is a 5% uplift from the previous year.

The business's quarter four results, for the three months ending in June, saw a 1% uplift in revenue compared to the previous year, however ad revenues fell by 5%, with News citing this is primarily due to the weakness in the print advertising market coupled with lower free standing insert product revenues at News America Marketing. For the year overall advertising revenues declined 11%.

Chief executive of News Robert Thomson says the publisher hit many of its goals, with two of those being a greater focus on digital and becoming more global. Thomson also noted that its book publishing offering, HarperCollins, ended the financial year strongly.

“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% of segment revenues, up from 19% last year,” Thomson says.

When it comes to News' cable TV offering Foxtel, the business's net income fell by $52 million to $180 million as a result of lower operating income. However News outlined that in local Australian dollars, Foxtel's revenue grew by 3% due to a lift in subscribers.

News also outlined that Presto was costing the company money, with Foxtel's EBITDA dropping 9% due to increased investment in programming to support subscriber growth, higher offer costs, as well as continued investment in Presto.

In terms of subscribers, Foxtel’s total closing subscribers were more than 2.9 million as of June 30, with the vast majority of year-on-year growth driven by cable and satellite subscribers, which increased approximately 5% compared to the prior year period.

Thomson also pulled out The Australian newspaper as an example, noting that the daily masthead continues to post higher paid volume, thanks to digital.

“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 capitalise on broader social and commercial trends, and drive long-term value for investors," Thomson added.

REA's profit jumps 16%

The News Corp-backed REA Group has seen its net profit jump to USD$214.5 million, which is a lift of 16%.

The results also revealed that In Australia REA's revenue increased by 17% to $555.2 million this year, which it says is attributed to its premium advertising products.

The group's CEO Tracey Fellows says: “This year, we’ve continued to see strong results with 20% revenue growth and a 22% increase in EBITDA.

“The year was marked by global expansion with our acquisition of iProperty Group, giving us a foothold in South East Asia and extending our operations which now span four continents. We also launched the global property network giving consumers access to more than three million listings from 56 countries.”

News to sell stake in CarsGuide

As the results landed so did the news that News Corp is set to sell its 50% stake in CarsGuide following the company’s merger agreement with US-based Cox Automotive.

Cox Automotive will combine CarsGuide with two other automotive services, Dealer Solutions and Manheim.

Cox Automotive Australia and CarsGuide have signed agreements with the view to complete the transaction by the end of 2016, after working through the necessary regulatory and legal requirements.

CarsGuide CEO Lauren Williams says she expects the sale to further facilitate links between the wholesale and retail markets.

“Our customers can take full advantage of the synergies offered by the new brand suite.

“The move will especially allow us to offer our dealer customers an even greater range of channels in which to sell and buy their vehicles.”

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