Rupert Murdoch’s US media group News Corp has reported a loss of $430 million in the past quarter as revenues slipped by 6.6 per cent from a year ago to just $2.08 billion.
Declines in the print advertising market and flailing sales of global newspapers have been blamed.
The group operates the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) along with British and Australian newspapers, which also took a hit from the strong dollar.
It was also forced to take a charge of $464M to mark down the value of its assets at British newspapers as well as Aussie pay TV venture, Foxtel, which resulted in a 10 per cent drop in revenue.
A company statement said digital accounted for 26 per cent of segment revenues in the quarter which were helped by an increase in online subscriptions to the WSJ, which now has more than 1.2M paid subscribers but it doesn’t seem to be enough to pull News Corp out of the red.
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HarperCollins publishing house and real estate website realtor.com are also in the News Corp group.
Most of the print operations of the original News Corp were kept when the company was split into two separate firms in 2013 (the other is 21st Century Fox) as part of a plan to “unlock value” for shareholders but it seems things are unravelling quickly for Murdoch who began a gradual withdrawal from both companies at the time.
The 86-year-old media mogul now shares the title of chairman at both firms with his oldest son, Lachlan.
Could this be the end of newspapers?