Wall Street Journal a bright spot as News Corp reports loss

A growing demand for "accurate and timely journalism" is boosting the Wall Street's subscriber numbers Image copyright LEON NEAL
Image caption A growing demand for "accurate and timely journalism" is boosting The Wall Street's subscriber numbers, News Corp says

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has reported a loss for the three months to December, amid a difficult environment for print advertising.

The group made a loss of $219m (£175.1m) compared with the same time last year when profits were $106m.

However, a growing demand for "accurate and timely journalism" was helping to lift subscriber numbers for some of its news outlets, it said.

News Corp gets more than half its revenue from outside the US.

The firm's chief executive Robert Thomson said The Wall Street Journal now had more than 2.1 million paid subscribers and that for the first time, more than 50% of those subscribers were digital.

Image copyright LEON NEAL
Image caption Rupert Murdoch is executive chairman of News Corp. His son Lachlan is co-chairman.

"Audiences are craving integrity, which is why so many of our mastheads have reported strong growth in readers and subscribers this quarter," he said.

"And advertisers need a trusted canvas and real results, not the muddled, muddied metrics of many digital platforms."

The group reported strong performances at its book publisher Harper Collins and its digital estate agency division.

Rapid expansion meant "digital real estate" was "well on the way to becoming the largest contributor to our profitability", said Mr Thomson.

"This segment posted another very strong quarter, with a 16% year-over-year revenue increase, improved margins and robust audience gains," he added.

Mr Thomson said a reduction in the value of print-related fixed assets at the firm's Australian newspaper business had hurt income for the quarter, together with non-cash charges related to Foxtel.

News Corp's businesses include news and information services, book publishing, real estate services and cable network programming as well as pay-TV distribution in Australia.

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