Television

News Corp revenue up 4%, EBIDTA up 21% in Q1-2015

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BENGALURU: News Corporation (News Corp., company) reported 4 per cent growth in revenue in Q1-2015 (Quarter ended 30 September 2014, or current quarter) to US$ 2150 million from US$ 2072 million in the corresponding year ago quarter Q1-2015.

The company’s EBIDTA increased 21 per cent to US$ 170 million in Q1-2015 from US$ 141 million in Q1-2014. The y-o-y EBITDA improvement was driven primarily by strong revenue performances in the Book Publishing, Digital Real Estate Services and Digital Education segments, combined with lower expenses related to the capitalization of Amplify Learning’s software development costs, partially offset by declines at the News and Information Services segment.

The following segments contribute to News Corps numbers: News and Information Services, Book Publishing, Cable Network Programming, Digital Real Estate Services, Digital Education, and ‘Other’.

Segment Results

News and Information services

Revenues for Q1-2015 decreased US$ 44 million, or 3 per cent, compared to Q1-2014. Australian newspaper revenues were relatively flat, reflecting modest advertising revenue declines and favourable foreign currency fluctuations.

The company says that total segment advertising revenues declined 7 per cent, driven by weakness primarily in the print advertising market and the absence of results from LMG, partially offset by the benefit from foreign currency fluctuations. Circulation and subscription revenues declined 1 per cent, primarily due to the decline in professional information business revenues at Dow Jones, the absence of results from LMG and lower print circulation volume, partially offset by cover price increases in the U.K. and at several Australian newspapers as well as higher subscription pricing at The Wall Street Journal and WSJ.com. Adjusted revenues declined 3 per cent compared to the prior year.

Segment EBITDA decreased US$28 million in the current quarter, or 21per cent, as compared to the prior year. Results were impacted by revenue weakness at Dow Jones coupled with the sale of LMG and incremental dual rent and other facility costs related to the relocation of the Company’s London operations of US$14 million, partially offset by an increase at News Corp Australia.

Book Publishing

Revenues in Q1-2015 increased US$ 78 million, or 24 per cent, compared to the prior year driven by the inclusion of the results of Harlequin and continued popularity of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. The company claims that it sold more than 3.5 million net units of the Divergent series in the quarter helped by the release of Four: A Divergent Collection. E-book revenues improved by 28 per cent versus the prior year period, primarily driven by Harlequin, and represented 22 per cent of consumer revenues. Segment EBITDA increased US$ 12 million, or 28 per cent, from Q1-2014 due to higher revenues coupled with ongoing operational efficiencies and higher contribution to profits from ebooks, as well as a modest benefit from the acquisition of Harlequin. The improvements were partially offset by approximately US$ 5 million of transaction fees related to the acquisition of Harlequin. Adjusted revenues increased 6 per cent and Adjusted Segment EBITDA increased 23 per cent, compared to the prior year.

Cable Network Programming

In the first quarter of fiscal 2015, revenues increased US$ 7 million, or 5 per cent, compared Q1-2014, primarily due to higher affiliate pricing and increased subscribers. Segment EBITDA in the quarter increased US$ 3 million, or 10 per cent, due to higher revenues, partially offset by higher programming rights and other production costs. Adjusted revenues increased 4 per cent and Adjusted Segment EBITDA increased 10 per cent, compared to the prior year.

Digital Real Estate Services

Revenues in the quarter increased $22 million, or 24 per cent, compared to Q1-2014, primarily reflecting higher residential listing depth product penetration and higher pricing. Segment EBITDA in the quarter increased US$ 13million, or 30 per cent, compared to the prior year primarily due to the increased revenues as noted above, partially offset by higher marketing costs and US$ 2 million of incremental costs related to the proposed acquisition of Move,Inc. (“Move”). Adjusted revenues and Adjusted Segment EBITDA increased 23 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively, compared to the prior year.

Digital Education

Revenues in the quarter increased US$ 15 million, or 56 per cent, compared to the prior year primarily due to higher revenues at Amplify Learning, driven by the adoption of early grade print and hybrid learning products, and at Amplify Access. Segment EBITDA in Q1-2015 improved US$ 27 million, or 53 per cent, from the prior year, primarily due to the capitalization of Amplify Learning’s software development costs of US$ 15 million and higher revenues.

Other

Segment EBITDA in Q1-2015 improved by US$ 2 million compared to Q1-2014, due to lower fees and costs, net of indemnification, related to the claims and investigations arising out of certain conduct at The News of the World (the “U.K. Newspaper Matters”) of approximately US$ 3 million.

The net expense related to the U.K. Newspaper Matters was US$ 14 million for the three months ended 30 September 2014 as compared to US$ 17 million for the three months ended 30 September 2013.

Click here to read the earnings release

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