News Corp revenue drops 8% in June quarter

News Corp reported an 8% decline in revenue for the June quarter, reflecting lower sales at its book-publishing unit, lower advertising revenue at its news and information-services business and the negative impact of foreign-currency fluctuations.

The New York-based media company posted a net loss available to stockholders of $51 million, or 9 cents a share, in the quarter ended June 30, compared with a loss of $372 million in the year-earlier period, when a write-off weighed on results.

Revenue fell to $2.47 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 2 cents per share on net income of $24 million and revenue of $2.56 billion.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, were $269 million, down 14% from a year earlier.

News Corp’s largest unit, the news and information-services business, which includes The Wall Street Journal, Times of London and New York Post, reported a revenue decline of 5% to $1.23 billion. Those results reflected a 3% negative impact from currency fluctuations.

Advertising revenue for the news unit fell 8%, of which 2% reflected the negative impact of currency fluctuations. Circulation and subscription revenues were flat overall and increased 7% at Dow Jones, reflecting growth in digital subscribers and price increases at the Journal.

The Journal added 43,000 digital subscribers from the end of the previous quarter, bringing its total to 1.82 million. That is slower than the pace of growth in the March quarter, when 66,000 digital subscribers were added.

Ebitda rose 14% at the news unit, primarily due to higher contributions from News America Marketing, News Corp’s in-store coupon and marketing business. News Corp recently announced it is reviewing strategic options for the News America Marketing unit, including a possible sale of the business.

"We are acutely focused on simplifying the structure of the company and making clear the full value of the sum of our parts," said Chief Executive Robert Thomson.

Revenue in the HarperCollins Publishers unit declined 14% from the year-earlier period, when a "Lord of the Rings" sublicensing pact brought in significant revenue. Ebitda in the unit fell 39%.

The digital real-estate business, which had been a growth engine for News Corp in the past, reported a 5% decrease in revenue, with a significant impact from foreign-exchange fluctuations.

Revenue at News Corp’s subscription video-services unit sank 12% to $536 million.

Write to Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg at [email protected]

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