News Corp beats earnings expectations, misses on revenue

Key Points
  • Analysts expect the media company to post earnings of 9 cents a share on revenue of $2.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.
  • Flagship publication The Wall Street Journal has undergone a restructuring program amid a changing digital media landscape and declining ad revenue.
(L to R) Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp and chairman of Fox News, and Lachlan Murdoch, co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, walk together as they arrive on the third day of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 13, 2017 in Sun Valley, Idaho.
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News Corp reported quarterly earnings that beat and revenue that missed analysts' expectations on Thursday.

Here's how the company did compared with what Wall Street expected:

  • EPS: 11 cents vs. 9 cents, according to Thomson Reuters
  • Revenue: $2.08 billion vs. $2.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters

Revenue fell 7 percent from the same time last year. The company reported earnings of 11 cents per share, compared with 10 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp owns names such as HarperCollins, Dow Jones and the New York Post. An evolving digital media landscape and declines in advertising revenue have weighed on News Corp's flagship business news outlet, The Wall Street Journal, as it has on numerous others in the industry.

Advertising revenue for the company's news and information services declined 12 percent from the year-ago quarter, which the company attributed to a weak print advertising market. Circulation and subscription revenues fell 9 percent. The company said having one less week this year, negative currency fluctuations and lower print volume contributed to the decrease.

Adjusted for those factors, the company said circulation would have actually increased 1 percent. Dow Jones experienced a 10 percent increase in circulation revenue, led by The Wall Street Journal.

Digital revenue represented 26 percent of news and information services revenue, up from 23 percent at the same time last year. The Wall Street Journal's daily digital-only subscribers increased to 1.27 million from 948,000 last year.

The company did not specify the number of Wall Street Journal print subscribers, though it did mention lower print volume contributed to a decrease in circulation and subscription revenue. However, it said a decrease in full-year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was partially offset by lower costs due to restructuring and savings from lower print volume.

Digital real estate services such as continued to fuel News Corp's growth. Revenue increased 10 percent from the year-ago quarter. It was the only category where revenue increased. News and information services, book publishing and cable network programming all decreased from the same time last year.

Chief Financial Officer Susan Panuccio said on a call with investors that News Corp's expansion into digital real estate is poised to fuel the company's growth. CEO Robert Thomson reiterated Panuccio's confidence.

"As custodians of the company with the proudest of histories, we know that our past is a platform for our future," Thomson said. "For these reasons and more, we're looking forward to the coming year with much confidence in the prospects for shareholders and our partners."

The Journal announced last month it would continue restructuring the company to try and transform it into a digital-first operation. The news outlet's editor-in-chief, Gerard Baker, told employees in a memo that the newsroom's staff size of about 1,300 jobs would stay "roughly stable." The Journal started its reorganization last fall.

Despite struggles at the company's media outlets, shares of News Corp have risen about 20 percent this year.