News Corp worldwide reports $1.4bn net loss, but paid subscriptions rise

Strong growth in the number of paid digital subscribers was recorded

Strong growth in the number of paid digital subscribers was recordedBRENDAN MCDERMID REUTERS

Fox is now undergoing another breakup, with a plan to sell most of its TV and film assets to Walt Disney Co.

Foxtel loomed large in the News Corp's global figures with last quarter's $1bn write down of the subscription TV operator increasing the group's net loss to $US1.4bn, an increase from $US643 million past year.

Total revenue in News Corp.'s Subscription Video Services business, which includes Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia, soared to $610 million from $140 million.

Overall revenue was 29% higher at $2.69 billion.

In the quarter, advertising revenue declined $12 million, or 2%, globally, but this was more than made up by 5% growth in subscriptions to $26 million.

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with News providing financial news and services.

In Q4, Digital Real Estate segment revenues increased 20% y-o-y to $299 million, and the segment's EBITDA further grew 14% y-0-y to $99 million, largely due to continued growth at REA Group and Move. Adjusted revenues for the segment were 3% lower compared to the prior year.

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"We generated strong revenue and Segment EBITDA growth in the Digital Real Estate Services and Book Publishing segments, which, together with the consolidation of Foxtel, drove over $1 billion in profitability for the year".

CEO Robert Thomson reported confidence that new rights acquisitions, including cricket, would lift subscriber numbers at Foxtel.

"HarperCollins' success underscores the importance of intelligent editors and great writers in creating premium content. Algorithms are, as yet, unable to write empathetic, compelling books".

"Fiscal 2018 was a year of operational and transformational success at News Corp, with robust performance across our businesses, and positive and profound changes in the character of our revenue flows, which were more global, digital and subscription-based".

News Corp, which is chaired by Rupert Murdoch, is the ultimate owner of The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun, as well as The Wall Street Journal and the publisher Harper Collins.

For that segment, the company expects "reinvestment this year" that will focus on launching new OTT products, 4K, the next generation of the Foxtel iQ digital set-top box and "managing our valuable broadcast base", she said.

When the company launched the "new" News Corp. five years ago, "we promised to be relentlessly digital and global and that we would remain faithful to the principles and the values inherited from the founding company", Thomson told analysts.

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