'Wall Street Journal' Sees 23% Spike in Digital-Only Subs, Dow Jones Becomes Separate Segment

News Corp released its Q4 and full-year results for fiscal 2020 yesterday. For the first time, the company presented Dow Jones, home to The Wall Street Journal, as a separate reportable segment.

“The resegmentation of News Corp is a particularly historic moment and a fulfillment of our pledge to make the Company more transparent and its potential more obvious,” Chief Executive Robert Thomson stated. “The presentation of Dow Jones as a separate segment highlights what we believe are two incontrovertible facts: The substantial and growing value of that business, and its superior profit profile and prospects compared to those of our nearest competitor.”

Thomson noted Dow Jones reported a 13% increase in segment EBITDA, despite it being a difficult time for media companies. He attributed this growth to the strength of the segment’s Professional Information Business, digital growth and “the pre-eminence of The Wall Street Journal.”



Dow Jones reported a $16 million or 4% decline in Q4, compared to last year, and attributed this loss to a decline in advertising revenues. Combined ad revenue declined by 28% or $28 million, with a 43% decline in print advertising and a 7% decline in digital advertising revenues. Circulation and subscription revenues increased by $16 million or 6%.

Digital revenues at Dow Jones represented 71% of total revenue, compared to 63% the year prior during Q4, while digital advertising accounted for 54% of total advertising revenues for the quarter.

Like many publishers,Dow Jones saw a steep increase to its digital subscriptions during the quarter. Total subscriptions products reached approximately 3.8 million, a 15% increase, compared to the year prior. Digital-only subscriptions across the segment grew by 28%.

The Wall Street Journal saw significant gains, in particular. The brand’s subscriptions grew by 15% to nearly 3 million, compared to the year prior. Digital-only subscriptions grew 23%, now counting more than 2.2 million subscriptions for the quarter. Digital subscriptions account for 75% of total subscriptions.

Growth across circulation and subscription revenues led to a full-year 2020 revenue increase of $41 million or 3%, compared to the year prior. Digital revenues for Dow Jones represented 67% of total revenues, a 4% gain compared to the same period year prior.

Digital revenues at Dow Jones topped $1 billion for the first time in its history.

The report noted News Corp is instituting company-wide cuts and a Shared Services program.

Thomson stated: “Across the Company, we have taken stringent action to reduce costs, and the benefits of those cuts will be felt in coming quarters. We have also launched a Shared Services program that we believe will transform the Company, by centralizing many of our functions. We are confident this program should appreciably cut costs and expect it to have a materially positive impact on our bottom line.”

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