Analysts say media companies like News Corp. are no longer as lucrative because they lack the one thing that used to give them an advantage: exclusive distribution.
Newspapers and magazines used to be able to tout their large circulations to interest advertisers. However, today posting an article on social media can give it a larger audience than any print product could have — and in a shorter time frame, said Mitch Zacks, portfolio manager at Zacks Investment Management.
"Media companies benefited by having an oligopoly of distribution," said Zacks. "With the proliferation of mobile devices — where everyone is walking around with computers that can access types of content — it lessens the benefit of that [traditional] distribution channel."
News Corp. reported $1.97 billion in revenue in its fiscal first-quarter release on Monday. It also announced an adjusted loss of 1 cent per share. Revenue was slightly ahead of a Thompson Reuters consensus estimate for $1.96 billion.
Younger, more advertiser-desired demographics aren't picking up print newspapers and magazines like older generations, preferring to consume content on their social networks rather than read one publication cover to cover.
This decentralization of media means quantity of content will soon exceed quality, Zacks said. However, since people are more likely to read things that interest them, they'll self-select for the best items that suits their interests, he added.
Even if traditional media companies are nimble enough to change, digital ad revenue is much lower than print, said Susan Bidel, senior analyst at Forrester. In turn, budgets are getting smaller.
Dow Jones, owned by News Corp., announced in October it was looking to cut costs due to a decline in print advertising. Its Wall Street Journal property said it was consolidating sections of its newspaper as well as undergoing layoffs. The Journal also offered buyouts to all employees in its news division, according to an internal memo obtained by CNBC.
"Any company that is a traditional company shifting to a digital model is experiencing less revenue overall from advertising," Bidel said. "You have to adjust your resources to fit the money you're making."