News Corp has swung to a $US228 million ($A335 million) full-year profit a year after bearing the brunt of its Foxtel consolidation, but global revenues declined during a tough fourth quarter for the media conglomerate.
The Rupert Murdoch-controlled firm increased total revenue by 12 per cent to $US10.07 billion in the 12 months to June 30 despite income from its news and information services dropping by 3.0 per cent, or $US167 million.
Revenue at News Corp’s Australian mastheads, including the Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and The Australian, slipped by 6.0 per cent during the year and 7.0 per cent in the fourth quarter.
Fourth-quarter revenue across the company’s businesses declined by 8.0 per cent to $US2.47 billion, including a 12 per cent drop in video subscription revenue and a $US105 million impact from foreign currency fluctuations.
A 14 per cent quarterly decline across the book publishing segment, which includes Harper Collins, was exacerbated by the absence of a one-time contribution from the sublicensing agreement for JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
News Corp’s FY19 net result compared with a net loss of $US1.1 billion a year ago when the company revalued its Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia operations.
Chief executive Robert Thompson said News Corp was making strides to further simplify its business through the strategic review of its News America Marketing division before a potential sale.
“We have received material interest and the process is progressing well,” Mr Thompson said on Friday.
News Corp’s total EBITDA for the full year was $US1.24 billion, a 16 per cent increase compared with $US1.07 billion in the previous year, driven by the Foxtel consolidation.
The company said news and information earnings were helped by a rapid rise in digital paid subscribers, particularly at Dow Jones.
Full-year revenues at its real estate division increased $US18 million, or 2.0 per cent, due primarily to the continued growth at Move and REA Group, but were offset by $US56 million in foreign currency fluctuations and the disposal of Diakrit.
Paying subscribers for the Kayo sports streaming service more than doubled between the third and fourth quarters to 331,000.
News Corp’s ASX-listed shares were worth $19.65 before trade on Friday, having gained 21 per cent, or $3.38, so far in 2019.