Chief executive Robert Thomson highlights growth at UK mastheads Times and Sunday Times, and Australian digital subscriptions rise 12%
Rupert Murdochs News Corp has shrugged off its latest annual loss with an upbeat assessment of its digital news and real estate assets.
The worldwide publishing group reported a net loss of US$1.4bn for 2017/18, which was worse than the previous years US$643m.
But the result was skewed by accounting writedowns, including US$998m for the consolidation of Foxtel and Fox Sports in Australia.
Robert Thomson, the chief executive, said the group had gone through a year of operational and transformational success and pointed to revenue growth in its online real estate businesses such as realestate.com and its book publishing division led by Harper Collins.
We also saw meaningful operational improvements at the news and information services segment led by higher digital paid subscribers and disciplined cost initiatives, notably in Australia, he said in a statement on Friday.
He highlighted the growth of digital paid subscribers at UK mastheads such as the Times and the Sunday Times, and hailed strong growth at the Wall Street Journal. He did not mention the groups titles in Australia, such as the Australian and the Herald Sun had performed, but the earnings report to the stock market said that digital subscriptions in Australia had increased to 415,600 compared from 363,600 in the year prior.
Revenue from the group totalled US$9.01bn, up 11%, while earnings before interest tax and depreciation hit US$1.07bn, up 21%.
Digital real estate services continues to flourish, Thomson said, pointing to a 19% rise in revenue for the last quarter helped by a strong showing in the Australian business, REA Group.
HarperCollins success underscores the importance of intelligent editors and great writers in creating premium content. Algorithms are, as yet, unable to write empathetic, compelling books.
Five years ago News Corp underwent a restructure that saw its entertainment assets spun off into a separate company from its publishing businesses, including Harper Collins.
We are marking five years since our separation and are confident News Corp has a lustrous future, built on a strong digital and global foundation, said Thomson.
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