Television

Q1-2016: News Corp revenue declines 4.5 percent

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BENGALURU: Rupert Murdoch helmed News Corporation reported a 4.5 per cent YoY decline in consolidated revenues in the quarter ended 20 September, 2015 (Q1-2016, current quarter) at $2,014 million as compared to the prior year’s quarter revenue of $2,2108 million. Reported Consolidated EBIDTA in the current quarter declined 14.9 per cent YoY to $165 million from $194 million.

Negative foreign currency fluctuations in the current quarter reduced Total Segment EBITDA by $29 million as compared to Q1-2015. Income from continuing operations was $143 million as compared to $109 million in Q1-2015 due to a tax benefit from the release of valuation allowances resulting from the planned disposal of the digital education business, partially offset by lower Total Segment EBITDA, lower Other, net and lower equity earnings of affiliates says News Corp.

Earnings per share from continuing operations available to News Corporation stockholders in the current quarter were $0.22 as compared to $0.15 in Q1-2015. Adjusted EPS were $0.05 in Q1-2016 compared to $0.13 in Q1-2015.

News Corp CEO Robert Thomson said, “News Corp is on track in its transition to a more digital and global future, having successfully integrated several recent acquisitions and built a powerful platform for future growth. We are focused on driving sustainable expansion of revenue and profit, and leveraging the potency of our brands, while diligently controlling costs to maximise long-term returns for all investors. Foreign exchange fluctuations negatively impacted reported results, but this should not obscure the progress at many of our businesses. In fact, News Corp’s revenues, excluding the effect of currency, grew four per cent this quarter, underscoring the value of our shift to higher growth businesses and our prudent reinvestment strategy.”

“We are particularly pleased with the momentum at realtor.com, which is significantly ahead of schedule on key metrics. We are now, by some reckoning, the world's largest digital property listings company and we see a particularly bright future in the sector, especially in the U.S. where we believe the national real estate market is still returning to health,” he added.

“Our digital expertise has been enhanced by the addition of Unruly and Checkout 51, which we expect will have a positive impact across our businesses and around the world. We are already seeing significant new opportunities because of Unruly's unique skills in measuring the social and viral penetration of advertising campaigns. We are on the cusp of significant upheaval in the advertising market, which has been distorted by trash traffic, invisible impressions and mockable metrics, to the detriment of advertisers, large and small,” he further said. 

“With recent M&A activity highlighting the rising value of global financial news brands, the progress at Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal is noteworthy, with growth in print and digital advertising, and improvements in the professional information business.”

Segment Revenue

News and Information Services

This is News Corp’s largest segment. Revenues for the segment declined 11.1 per cent to $1,290 million in the current quarter as compared to the $1451 million in the corresponding year ago quarter.  The segment’s EBIDTA declined 21 per cent YoY to $83 million from $105 million due to lower advertising revenues and $5 million of higher legal expenses at News America Marketing claims the company.

News Corp says that total segment advertising revenues declined 13 per cent, primarily due to negative foreign currency fluctuations, weakness in the print advertising market, most notably in Australia, and lower revenues at News America Marketing. 

Circulation and subscription revenues declined six per cent, due to negative foreign currency fluctuations, partially offset by higher subscription pricing and cover price increases. At Dow Jones, the company saw growth in both print and digital advertising revenues and higher circulation revenues at The Wall Street Journal as well as modest growth of professional information business revenues. 

Adjusted revenues declined three per cent compared to the prior year. Total segment advertising revenues declined five per cent and circulation and subscription revenues increased two per cent, excluding the impact of $60 million and $45 million, respectively, from negative foreign currency fluctuations.

Book Publishing

Revenues for the segment increased 0.7 per cent to $409 million in the current quarter as compared to the $406 million in the corresponding year ago quarter. The revenue growth was driven by  driven by strong sales in General Books resulting from the popularity of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee and the inclusion of the results of Harlequin, acquired in August 2014, partially offset by lower revenues from the Divergent series, lower e-book sales and negative foreign currency fluctuations. Digital sales represented 20 per cent of consumer revenues for the quarter. 

The segment’s EBIDTA declined 23.6 per cent YoY to $42 million from $55 million.

Digital Real Estate Services

Revenues for the segment increased 70.5 per cent to $191 million in the current quarter as compared to the $112 million in Q1-2015 primarily driven by the inclusion of the results of Move, acquired in November 2014. At REA Group, increased revenues from greater residential listing depth product penetration and improved listing volumes in Australia were more than offset by negative foreign currency fluctuations.

The segment’s EBIDTA was flat YoY at $57 million due to negative foreign currency fluctuations.

News Corp claims that in Q1-2016, Move’s revenues increased 33 per cent on a stand-alone basis to $85 million in the current quarter from $64 million in the corresponding prior year. Move saw continued strength in its Connection for Co-Brokerage product and non-listing Media revenues, coupled with market share gains for its Top Producer software product. Based on Move’s internal data, average monthly unique users of realtor.com’s web and mobile sites for the quarter grew 43 per cent year-over-year to approximately 46 million, which was driven by 64 per cent growth in mobile users.

Cable Network Programming

Revenues declined 10.9 per cent in the current quarter to $124 million from $139 million in Q1-2015, while the company says that Adjusted revenues increased 10 per cent, primarily due to higher affiliate and advertising revenues.

The segment’s EBIDTA declined 12.5 per cent in Q1-2016 to $28 million from $32 million in Q1-2015. News Corp claims that Adjusted Segment EBITDA increased nine per cent, primarily due to an increase in revenues, as noted above, partially offset by expected higher programming rights costs related to the Rugby World Cup. Negative foreign currency fluctuations reduced reported revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2016 by $29 million as compared to the prior year.

Other

News Corp says that Segment EBITDA in the quarter improved by $10 million compared to the corresponding prior year, primarily 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 net expense related to the U.K. Newspaper Matters was $5 million for Q1-2016 as compared to $14 million for Q1-2015.

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