News Corp reports Q3 loss of $1.5b on write-down

NEW YORK • Mr Rupert Murdoch's newspaper-focused News Corp on Thursday reported a loss in the past quarter, as results were hit by a write-down in the value of its Australian television operations and declines in print advertising revenues.

The New York-based media group said the loss in the quarter ended March 31 was US$1.1 billion (S$1.5 billion), mainly from a markdown in value of Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia.

Overall revenues for the fiscal third quarter rose 6 per cent to US$2.1 billion, helped by increases in digital real estate operations and book publishing.

The newspaper operations - which include The Wall Street Journal, The Times and The Sunday Times of London as well as Australian titles - saw mixed results. Revenue for the newspaper unit grew 2 per cent, helped by circulation and subscription gains at The Wall Street Journal. But ad revenues were down 3 per cent, reflecting weakness in the print advertising market, notably in the US and Australia.

The Journal saw the number of digital subscribers hit 1.49 million by the end of March, with 409,000 at the company's Australian newspapers. The Times and The Sunday Times' digital subscribers rose to 230,000.

"At our mastheads, digital audience expanded at a time when premium news has become more important to readers and advertisers," chief executive Robert Thomson said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2018, with the headline 'News Corp reports Q3 loss of $1.5b on write-down'. Print Edition | Subscribe