News Corp, the publishing company controlled by Rupert Murdoch, said profits almost doubled in the year to June as growth in digital advertising and subscriptions helped its news operations recover- se of the losses incurred during the pandemic.
The US-listed company, which publishes newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, The Australian and The Times, reported an 11% rise in revenue for the year to $10.4 billion and profit pre-tax rose to $812 million from $450 million a year earlier. course
“The media segment was the main contributor to the improved profit picture this fiscal year, with profitability expanding to $217 million from $52 million, bolstered by growth of digital advertising revenue and a record number of digital subscribers,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp. adding that he said the company had “set significant records.”
Susan Panuccio, chief financial officer, said inflation and limited advertising visibility would result in “necessary action” on costs in the new financial year.
The strong performance in fiscal 2022 was a stark contrast to 2020, when the company posted a $1 billion loss in the three months to March due to a collapse in advertising revenue and pay TV subscriptions. News Corp closed the print editions of 100 Australian newspaper titles as a result, dealing a hammer blow to the local media industry.
The strong performance of the media business, with revenue up 10% year-on-year, was driven by the company’s operations in Australia and the UK, which include the Wireless Group radio business.
Circulation and subscription revenue rose 8 percent, or $83 million, while advertising revenue rebounded 14 percent driven by both digital sales and a recovery in UK print advertising. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization for the division grew to $165 million, offset by currency fluctuations and $20 million in costs related to the launch of TalkTV in the UK and other digital investments.
The company’s overall profits, which also include real estate websites and book publisher HarperCollins, were also hit by a $20 million litigation charge. The company did not disclose what the case is about.
Macquarie analyst Darren Leung said the results were stronger than expected, driven by cost control and solid subscriber growth.
The company’s sports streaming service Kayo added 142,000 in the fourth quarter, boosted by the timing of the Australian rules football season. The growth helped offset a more static performance in the wider Foxtel pay TV unit.