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News Corp. earnings: 19 cents per share, vs expected EPS of 18 cents

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. reported fiscal second-quarter earnings on Thursday that were essentially in line with analyst expectations.

The company posted second-quarter earnings of 19 cents per share on $2.12 billion in revenue. Analysts expected the global media company to report earnings of 18 cents per share on $2.12 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.

The stock was little changed in after-hours trade.

News Corp.'s news and information services unit, which includes Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, brought in $1.3 billion in revenue during the quarter. That figure is down 7 percent from the $1.4 billion the segment reported in the comparable year ago period.

Analysts expected the news and information segment to report $1.34 billion in revenue, according to a StreetAccount consensus estimate.

Chief Executive Robert Thomson said the company is "especially confident" in its news brands. He said that the Journal now has more than 2.1 million paid subscribers and that, for the first time, half of them are digital.

"Audiences are craving integrity, which is why so many of our mastheads have reported strong growth in readers and subscribers this quarter. And advertisers need a trusted canvas and real results, not the muddled, muddied metrics of many digital platforms," Thomson said in a statement.

Legacy media companies like News Corp. have sought to grow their digital subscriber bases amid a sector-wide struggle against steep declines in print advertising revenue.

In the second fiscal quarter, News Corp. said its news and information services segment saw advertising revenue decline 9 percent year over year, due to "weakness in the print advertising market."

In October, Dow Jones announced that it would be reviewing its operations and looking to cut costs amid a "significant decline in print advertising." As part of that plan, the Journal announced it would be consolidating sections of the newspaper and laying off employees.

In November, Thomson said during a conference call with analysts that the company is committed to quality content amid the "mayhem" in advertising.

News Corp. also said its book publishing, digital real estate and cable network programming businesses brought in $466 million, $242 million and $104 million in reported revenue, respectively. Those compare with analyst estimates for about $453.9 million, $242.4 million and $103.9 million, respectively, according to StreetAccount.

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