Property buoys News Corp’s results

Property buoys News Corp’s resultsPhoto: Alex Proimos

The strong performance of News Corporation’s digital real estate businesses has helped offset a 28 per cent drop in profit revealed at its full-year results this week.

The fall in EBITDA from $US945 million to $US684 million was in part due to currency fluctuations and a one-time charge of $280 million relating to the settlement of litigation and related claims at News America Marketing.

The company’s Digital Real Estate Services segment increased revenue by 32 per cent to $822 million and achieved a 71 per cent higher profit of $US344 million.

The inclusion of results from Move, acquired in late 2014, boosted the outcome, as well as the strong performance of Asia-Pacific subsidiary REA Group and the recent acquisition of iProperty and Diakrit.

News’ news, book publishing and cable network programming segments were down in its fiscal year.

Chief Executive Robert Thomson said the company had made progress on its primary goals to become more digital and global.

“Since the advent of the new News three years ago, revenue at Digital Real Estate Services has more than doubled, and it is expected to become the biggest contributor to EBITDA in the future thanks to the ongoing success of REA and the rapid growth at Realtor.com,” Mr Thomson said.

“In the US, our reach in digital real estate is unparalleled and highlights the potential of the News Corp network, which is monetising shared data and maximising the value of content and traffic.”

News Corporation's segmented results for Q4 and FY2016.

News Corporation’s segmented results for Q4 and FY2016.

Digital subscribers to News Corp Australia’s masthead grew 21 per cent, rising from 225,600 in Q4 2015 to 272,700 in Q4 2016.

News Corp Australia’s results are not separated from News Corp’s UK and US operations.

“With the advertising marketplace in upheaval and, rightly under increased scrutiny, we believe the need for trusted content and premium audiences will only increase,” Mr Thomson said.

“We are confident that News Corp’s unique portfolio and global distribution, combined with our focus on cost efficiencies, mean we are uniquely positioned to capitalise on broader social and commercial trends, and drive long-term value for investors.”

The company has been making progress on digital subscriptions, with its flagship US masthead The Wall Street Journal claiming 948,000 digital-only subscribers.

Digital subscriptions account for almost half of News UK’s subscriber base, with The Times and The Sunday Times lodging 182,500 digital-only subscribers.

Strong results for Q4

News posted stronger results for Q4, with revenue up 5 per cent to $US2.2 billion and EBITDA up 68 per cent to $US361 million.

Income from continuing operations of $US114 million compared with $US20 million in the prior year.

Digital revenues in the news and information services segment increased, accounting for 23 per cent of segment revenue in Q4 2016 compared to 19 per cent compared with corresponding period in FY15.

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