Falling dollar sees further decline in News Corp Australian newspaper revenues

New News Corp logoNews Corp has revealed further revenue declines in its Australian newspaper operations, although the company has blamed the falling Australian dollar for much of the loss, which is reported in US dollars.

Revenues for the Australian operation fell 8 per cent according to quarterly results released today. Globally its newspaper revenues fell by by $89 million, or 6 percent. the company’s local newspapers, which include The Australian and The Daily Telegraph, have recorded sharp declines in revenue for a number of years running.

While the company admitted to “modest advertising revenue declines” in Australia the bulk of the decline was attributed to the weakening Australian dollar which has fallen back significantly in the last six months agains the US dollar.

While overall revenue rose to $2.28 billion, a 1.9 per cent increase, from $2.24 billion in the previous year for the quarter ending December 31 overall profits fell by 5 per cent to $142 million, down from $150 million in the previous year.The company’s quarterly statement also said the newspaper revenue decline was due to weakness in the UK advertising market, negative currency fluctuations and less revenue from free standing insert products in the US market. Total segment advertising revenues declined by 9 per cent.

The statement claimed the figures were partially offset but higher advertising revenues at Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, but admitted that circulation and subscription revenues there had declined by 3 per cent.

Commenting on the results, CEO Robert Thomson said: “We were clearly buffeted by currency headwinds, but the strength of our brands, the breadth of our reach, the intensifying focus on cost discipline and the power of our portfolio meant that we saw continued growth in revenue and increasing upside in our long-term prospects.

“Our digital personality has evolved quickly, with having given us a new and influential platform, digital subscribers on the rise at our news mastheads, robust growth at REA, and healthy e-book sales at HarperCollins.”

The ongoing phone hacking scandal was still costing the company, with a line recording the “Net impact of U.K. Newspaper Matters” as being $13 million, down from the previous year’s $19 million.

Revenues at the company’s digital real estate services, which include REA Group in Australia, increased $51 million, or 50 per cent, on the previous year, following the acquisition of US real estate listings business Move.

Results for the company’s book publishing division were also positive, with revenue jumping to $78 million, or 20 per cent, from the previous year driven after the inclusion of the results of newly purchased romance publisher Harlequin and strong performances in children’s and general books.

Robert Burton-Bradley


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