News Corp’s ‘robust first half’, Australian revenue up 4%, subs reach 389,000

• Foxtel revenue down 3% with customer drop linked to Presto shutdown

News Corp has reported revenues of $2.18 billion, a 3% increase compared to $2.12 billion in the prior year.

Net loss improved to ($66) million compared to ($219) million in the prior year.

Total segment EBITDA of $329 million, a 1% increase compared to $325 million in the prior year.

Chief executive Robert Thomson said: “The robust first half results highlight the virtue of our strategy to become increasingly digital and global, the discipline of our financial management, and our commitment to premium content and high-quality, high-integrity news. First half revenues were up 4% and profitability improved by 27%, including strong results in the second quarter.

“Our mastheads are recording digital subscriber and audience growth, with digital accounting for 60 per cent of WSJ subscribers, while The Sun has now exceeded 90 million global monthly average uniques in the second quarter. But the potential returns for our journalism would be far higher in a less chaotic, less debased digital environment.”

Within the news and information segment, News UK, News Corp Australia and Dow Jones revenues grew 7%, 4% and 1%, respectively.

Closing digital subscribers at News Corp Australia’s mastheads as of December 31, 2017 were 389,600 (including ARM), compared to 309,200 in the prior year.

Revenues in the Cable Network segment quarter increased $16 million, or 15%, compared to the prior year due to the acquisition of Australian News Channel, operator of Australia’s Sky News network, and higher affiliate revenues at Fox Sports Australia. Segment EBITDA in the quarter decreased $18 million, or 35%, compared with the prior year, primarily due to the timing of programming amortisation related to the launch of a dedicated National Rugby League channel at Fox Sports Australia and $2 million of transaction costs related to the proposed combination of Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia.

Foxtel revenues decreased 3% due to lower subscriber volume and lower advertising revenues. Foxtel’s total closing subscribers were approximately 2.8 million as of December 31, 2017, which was lower than the prior year, primarily due to the shutdown of Presto.

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