News Corp profit boosted by TV income

  • 3 February 2011
  • From the section Business
Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch's media group also owns several newspapers and TV channels

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation said income at its television businesses had helped its profits jump 150% in the last three months of 2010.

The company made $642m (£385m) in the period from $254m a year earlier, on sales up about 1% to $8.76bn.

The gains were largely down to strong advertising at its US cable channels, such as Fox News, the firm added.

But it said restructuring its money-losing MySpace internet business had led to a $275m write-off.

In a conference call, News Corp's chief operating officer Chase Carey said the firm was now considering its strategic options for MySpace - hinting that it may sell off the business.

Hacking probe

News Corp includes Fox broadcast and cable networks, 20th Century Fox film studios, Harper Collins book publisher, and newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and the Times.

The strong performance at its US cable networks -- which also include National Geographic Fox Sports -- came after Time Warner also reported a big profits surge at its US television business.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Murdoch extended his media empire once again - launching a digital newspaper for the iPad called The Daily.

Mr Murdoch told an audience at the Guggenheim Museum in New York that he hoped it would be an "indispensable source of news" in the tablet era.

In the UK last week, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he intended to refer a bid by News Corp for BSkyB to the Competition Commission.

But he has given News Corp extra time to address concerns he has regarding "potential threats to media plurality".

The group already has a 39% stake in BSkyB and is trying to buy the rest.

It also owns UK newspapers the Sun, News of the World, the Times and Sunday Times.

The company's alleged involvement in phone hacking has returned to the spotlight in recent weeks.

Last week police launched a fresh investigation after receiving "significant new information", relating to activities at the News of the World, one of News Corp's biggest-selling papers.

In 2007, its Royal Editor Clive Goodman was jailed for four months for phone hacking after admitting unlawfully intercepting hundreds of telephone voicemail messages received by three members of staff at Buckingham Palace

The paper's editor at the time, Andy Coulson resigned from the paper when Mr Goodman was convicted - and last month stepped down as head of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron as the story re-emerged

Several celebrities, including television presenter Chris Tarrant, football agent Sky Andrew and jockey Kieren Fallon are suing News of the World over phone hacking allegations.

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