News Corp Beats The Street Despite Advertising Sales Tumble

Feb 6 2014, 3:43pm CST | by

News Corp beat Wall Street earnings estimates for its 2014 second quarter on Thursday, sending the stock up in after hours trading — despite substantial declines in advertising revenue across the majority of the company’s news business.

News Corp reported earnings per share of $0.31 against consensus estimate of $0.20, and revenues for the quarter of $2.24 billion, squeaking $100 million higher than the estimates. Investors like to hear that, but the beat was largely due to pessimistic outlook on behalf of analysts, who expected even larger declines in ad sales. Overall, the company’s revenue dropped 4% from the same quarter last year.

“The earnings report demonstrates a measure of progress as we navigate a challenging advertising market,” CEO Robert Thomson said in a statement. “The digital transformation is certainly underway, as the acquisition of Storyful and the robust growth in digital sales at HarperCollins attest. Digital subscriptions and website traffic are on the rise at most of our sites, and revenue at REA, the online real estate company, continues to expand encouragingly.”

Challenging advertising market indeed. Sales at the company’s largest division, News and Information Services, fell 9% year over year. EBITDA also fell 13% in that segment. Australian newspapers, where revenues dropped 17% (10% related to foreign currency), were the weakest performers. Circulation and subscription sales were down too, with Dow Jones the primary cause of that. Gains in book publishing and digital real estate couldn’t make up those losses.

News Corp stock, which was up 2.29% during the day, bumped up another 1.40% in after hours trading as of 4:30pm EST.

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2014 30 Under 30: Marketing & Advertising

Source: Forbes Business


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