News Corp saw a three per cent uplift in its revenue for the three months that ended on New Year’s Eve, bringing in nearly $US2.6 billion ($AU3.97 billion), over the course of the year, its revenue was up by two per cent to nearly $US5.1 billion (nearly $AU7.75 billion).
This growth was driven in large part by the business’ REA Group, which saw a nine per cent jump in its revenues. However, News Corp’s News Media division saw its revenue tumble by three per cent — losing its crown as the business’ highest-grossing segment to Down Jones, in the process.
“News Corp again saw growth in both revenue and profitability this quarter as we continue to realize the collective benefit of our strategic shift to digital and subscription revenues, and away from sometimes volatile advertising revenues,” said News Corp chief exec Robert Thomson.
“Our net income rose to $US183 million ($AU280 million) from $US94 million ($AU144 million) in the same quarter last year and our reported EPS was 27 cents ($AU0.41), compared to 12 cents ($AU18 cents) for the same period last year, driven by a 16 per cent surge in Total Segment EBITDA. We had particularly robust results across the three core pillars of our business – Dow Jones, Book Publishing and Digital Real Estate Services – and believe there are strong prospects for further growth as difficult macro conditions ease in some of our markets”.
However, while journalists may shed a tear seeing that News Corp’s storied publications are no longer top-dog — thanks to ad revenues dropping by 9 per cent— its circulation and subscription revenue increased five per cent to $US12 million ($AU18.38 million).
Meanwhile, News Corp’s SVOD services saw a two per cent uplift in revenue, largely thanks to volume and price increases at Kayo and BINGE. At the end of 2023, Foxtel’s paid subscribers stood at 4.3 million, flat compared to the prior year, as growth in streaming subscribers driven by Kayo and BINGE was offset by fewer residential broadcast subscribers.
The star, however, was REA Group. Revenues across the Digital Real Estate Services division grew by $US33 million ($AU50 million), or nine per cent year-on-year, driven by strong performance at REA Group partly offset by lower revenues at Move.
Revenues at REA Group specifically increased $US52 million ($AU76.7 million), or 22 per cent, to $292 million, primarily driven by higher Australian residential revenues due to price increases, increased depth penetration, favourable geographic mix and an increase in national listings, as well as an increase from financial services.
However, Thomson said that hope was not lost for its News Publishing division with the emergence of generative AI providing an unlikely ally.
“We expect to be a core content provider for Generative AI companies, who need the highest quality, timely content to ensure the relevance and accuracy of their products. We patently prefer negotiation to litigation, courtship to courtrooms. But let’s be clear, in my view those who repurpose without approval are stealing and are undermining the very act of creativity – counterfeiting is not creating, and the AI world is replete with content counterfeiters,” he said.
“I also want to draw attention to the plight of our colleague Evan Gershkovich, who continues to be unjustly detained in a Moscow prison, solely for being a highly professional journalist. We hope that justice will prevail and thank all who publicly, and not so publicly, have been working to secure his emancipation,” added Thomson.
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