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News Corp earnings: 7 cents per share vs 1 cent expected

Key Points
  • News Corp. beat earnings and revenue expectations.
  • The company owns Dow Jones, HarperCollins and the New York Post among other properties.
  • The Wall Street Journal, a flagship property, is in the midst of a reorganization to become a digital-first operation.
News Corporation headquarters in New York.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

News Corp. blew past earnings expectations Thursday, as the company presses ahead with efforts to turn its print news publications, such as The Wall Street Journal, into digital-first operations.

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

  • EPS: 7 cents vs. 1 cent expected, according to Thomson Reuters
  • Revenue: $2.06 billion vs. $1.97 billion expected, according to Thomson Reuters

News Corp. shares initially jumped more than 2 percent in after-hours trading Thursday, before falling flat.

In the year-ago quarter, News Corp. posted earnings per share a penny on $1.96 billion in revenue.

News Corp. is the publishing arm of Rupert Murdoch's global media empire. Properties include financial publisher Dow Jones, book publisher HarperCollins and the New York Post. Through Dow Jones, New Corp. owns The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch and Barron's.

As the media landscape becomes increasingly digital, News Corp. has struggled to keep up advertising, circulation and subscription revenue in its news and information business, which includes its flagship property, The Wall Street Journal.

In response, News Corp. has sought to shift the focus of its news publications away from print. The Wall Street Journal, for example, is in the midst of a major restructuring to become a digital-first operation.

But as News Corp. has sought to make digital inroads, it has butted heads with the likes of Google, which plays a key role in whether or not content is visible through its search engine.

News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson said Google's recent decision to end its "first click free" policy, in which news outlets had to offer three free articles daily in exchange for visibility in search engine results, would help support premium content behind paywalls at outlets like the Wall Street Journal.

News Corp. has had some success in its digital push. Digital operations represented 27 percent of the information and news division's quarterly revenue, compared to 24 percent the year prior.

The Wall Street Journal's total subscribers across its print and digital editions increased to 2.2 million, a 13.3-percent increase over the year prior. Digital subscribers at The Journal increased to 1,318,000, up from 967,000 in the year prior.

Overall, revenue at the news and information division rose 2 percent to $1.2 billion compared to the year prior. Advertising revenue, however, remained a point of weakness. Print advertising revenue was flat, while digital advertising revenue saw only a modest increase.