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News Corp. Reports 3% Boost in Revenue to $2.59 Billion Driven by Dow Jones, Book Publishing and Real Estate

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Amid a sea of newsroom layoffs and financial pain at other publications, News Corp. broke a record for quarterly revenues on Wednesday, driven by digital revenues at Dow Jones, as well as by strong results at the company’s book publishing arm and its digital real estate services.

Here are the top-line results:

Net Income: $183 million, nearly double the $94 million in 2023, and 27 cents per share, beating estimates of 20 cents per share from Zacks Investment Research

Revenue: $2.59 billion, a 3% increase compared to the same period the prior year and on par with estimates of $2.58 billion by Zacks Investment Research

Subscriptions: Rose 10% to 5.4 million for The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s Group, and were flat at 4.3 million for paid subscribers for broadcast and streaming.

Dow Jones booked $584 million in revenues, up 4% and its highest quarterly result since its acquisition by News Corp. in 2007. The company attributed the increase to professional information business revenues, which grew 13% compared to the prior year.

The New York-based News Corp. which owns The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, HarperCollins, and a host of Australian and British newspapers, said it benefitted in the quarter from a strategic shift to digital and subscription revenues, and “away from sometimes volatile advertising revenues,” chief executive Robert Thomson said in the company’s earnings release.

Dow Jones’ digital revenues represented 78% of total revenues in the quarter, compared to 76% the prior year. Circulation and subscription revenues increased by $24 million. However, circulation revenues individually remained stagnant compared to the prior year. Digital circulation revenues, which saw growth as a result of an increase in bundle offers, offset lower print volume.

In total, the Wall Street Journal has just over 4 million subscribers, 3.5 million of which are digital-only, a total increase of 7% compared to 2023. The publication’s digital subscriptions grew 11% year-over-year.

Digital-only subscriptions to Dow Jones’ consumer products, the Journal and Barron’s Group, grew 15% overall. The current market leader, The New York Times, which also reported quarterly earnings on Wednesday, has 10.36 million total subscribers, 9.7 million of which are digital-only subscribers.

Just last week, The Wall Street Journal slashed 28 jobs from its Washington D.C. bureau, a move editor-in-chief Emma Tucker attributed to a refocus of resources to ensure the “right structure,” for the upcoming 2024 election.

Digital now comprises approximately 52% of all News Corp. revenues. “The company’s digital progress and prowess are increasingly evident halfway through fiscal 2024,” Thomson said on Wednesday’s shareholder call.

“That is more than an e-evolution, it is an e-revolution,” Thomson continued. “One that has touched  and transformed every element of every business, and we are far from satisfied, far from complacent, far from completion.”

Thomson also noted that News Corp. is seeing the “collective benefit” of the company’s strategic shift away from “potentially volatile advertising revenues.”

The news media segment of News Corp., which includes Australian and U.K. news outlets, as well as the New York Post, saw revenues decline by $16 million, or 3% in the second quarter of 2024 compared to the prior year. This was primarily attributed to lower advertising revenues.

Advertising revenues for the news media segment decreased $24 million or 9%, compared to the prior year, driven by lower digital advertising across the outlets, which the company attributed to a decline in traffic at some mastheads.

News Corp.’s book publishing arm revenues grew 4%, while Segment EBITDA increased 67%, driven by increased digital sales attributable to strong audiobook performance.

News Corp. has also changed its tune regarding the role of generative artificial intelligence in the industry, with Thomson saying Wednesday that the company intends to be “a core content provider for generative AI companies who need the highest quality timely content to ensure the relevance of their products.”

Thomson also took a jab at The New York Times, which is suing Microsoft and OpenAI for violating copyrights for scraping its articles. “While certain other media companies prefer litigation, we prefer consultation as the former is merely creating a gold rush for lawyers,” he said.

In the second quarter of 2023, News Corp. posted revenue of $2.52 billion, down 7% in the last three months of the year, as advertising spending slumped amid rising inflation and interest rates. Advertising revenue in the fiscal second quarter of 2023 fell 10.6% to $464 million. Net income fell to $94 million, or 12 cents per share, from $262 million, or 40 cents per share, in the same period of 2022.

The first quarter of 2024 saw some bright spots for News Corp., with the company having reported Dow Jones digital-only subscriptions up by 12% to 4.6 million, boosting the company’s overall revenues up slightly by 1% to $2.5 billion. WSJ digital-only subscriptions grew 10% to nearly 3.5 million.

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