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News Corp profits nearly double as digital ads, subscriptions surge

Shares of News Corp. — owner of the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, HarperCollins and news groups in the UK and Australia — surged 6% on Tuesday after the company said it nearly doubled its profits in the latest fiscal year.

The media giant reported stronger revenue growth from advertising than from circulation and subscriptions in the quarter, even as other publishers and TV networks have begun reporting a slowing of the advertising market amid recession fears.

Revenue rose 11% to $10.39 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30. Pre-tax profit rose to $812 million compared with $450 million a year earlier.

During the fourth quarter, News Corp swung to a profit of $110 million, compared with a year-ago loss of $14 million, which was linked to a higher tax benefit. Quarterly revenue rose 7.3% to $2.67 billion.

News Corp. shares were recently up 6% at $18.41.

“The overuse of superlatives really is unbecoming, but the past quarter and the full year have created so many unprecedented records that reflect well on all at News Corp and we believe have created a platform for future performance and enduring returns for our investors,” News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson told investors.

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News Corp CEO Robert Thomson credited strong advertising and subscription growth for the robust financial results.
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“These accomplishments, which necessarily demand the use of superlatives, follow intense digital transformation by the businesses, and focused acquisitions that we expect will provide increased revenue and healthy profits far into the future,” Thomson added.

Last February, the CEO touted The Post’s first profit in “modern times,” and he said Wednesday that the newspaper has built on that momentum.

“The New York Post posted an historic result – it formally reported a profit, possibly the first since Alexander Hamilton founded the paper, and we are now on a pathway to increasing profit contribution,” Thomson said. “The Post has distinguished itself with brave journalism that has seen it soar far above the media mediocrity.”

The Post’s digital network reached approximately 198 million unique users in June 2022, compared to 123 million in the prior year

The growing news media group, which includes The Post as well as the Sun and the Times in the UK and papers in Australia, saw revenue rise 5.7% to $629 million.

Thomson said Dow Jones, publisher of the Journal, MarketWatch and Barron’s, brought in the fastest growth, posting a 54% rise in earnings to $106 million and a 26% jump in revenue to $565 million.

The CEO said the unit’s subscriber base hit 4.9 million in the quarter.

News Corp’s book-publishing division, HarperCollins Publishers, posted a 4.1% revenue increase to $513 million. The exec said the recent acquisition of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt books and media was paying off already, as the unit, which includes a catalog of works from The Lord of the Rings” author J.RR Tolkien, saw revenues climb 10%.

The company’s real estate services unit reported a 7.3% gain in revenue to $443 million, while its subscription-video-services division, which includes Foxtel, an Australian pay-TV provider, posted a 3.3% decline in revenue to $524 million.

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