News Corp. Revenues Fall On Ad Declines

Rupert Murdoch's newly independent publishing empire is not exempt from the troubling trends affecting the rest of the newspaper industry.

News Corp, which split from Fox in June of last year, reported that total revenues fell 4% from $2.32 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012 to $2.24 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, reflecting continuing declines in newspaper advertising, as well as foreign exchange fluctuations and the sale of the Dow Jones Local Media Group.

News Corp's news and information services division saw total revenues drop 9% from $1.77 billion to $1.61 billion. This decrease was slightly offset by gains in cable network programming revenue, which more than doubled from $53 million to $110 million; book publishing, which rose from $377 million to $391 million; and News Corp's new digital real estate division, REA, which rose from $87 million to $103 million.

Within the news division, circulation and subscription revenues declined 7%, while advertising revenues fell 10%. The drop in circulation and subscription revenues was attributed mostly to the decline in institutional business at Dow Jones. Total revenues from the company's Australian newspapers revenues declined 17%, with 10% of this drop due to foreign currency fluctuations. Excluding divestitures and currency fluctuations, the news and information services division's revenues only declined 4%.



The news of weakness in Dow Jones’ institutional business comes close on the heels of a big executive shake-up at the business information publisher.

In January, Lex Fenwick stepped down as CEO of Dow Jones amid a general rethinking of the business model behind the company's business newswires product, DJX, which was positioned as an alternative to Bloomberg's widely used subscription-based financial information service. It appears some financial-sector clients balked at paying more for information they were not necessarily going to use, demanding more flexible “a la carte” access and pricing structures for the service.

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