News Corp. beat expectations in its second-quarter earnings report Thursday.
Here’s how the company did compared to what Wall Street expected:
- EPS: 24 cents vs. 19 cents expected, according to Thomson Reuters
- Revenue: $2.18 billion vs. $2.13 billion expected, according to Thomson Reuters
Shares of News Corp. recovered nearly 1 percent in after-hours trading, following a decline of more than 2 percent in the intraday session.
Founded by global media magnate Rubert Murdoch, News Corp. commands a host of major media assets, including HarperCollins, the New York Post and financial mega-publisher Dow Jones, which owns The Wall Street Journal.
Digital revenues at Murdoch’s flagship newspaper continued to rise in the second quarter, signaling a continued shift away from print publication. Digital subscribers, the company said, now account for 60 percent of Wall Street Journal’s base.
The company’s overall digital segment grew to 29 percent of all segment revenues in the quarter, up from 26 percent in the prior year. The Journal’s daily digital subscriber base rose 28.6 percent year over year, hitting 1,389,000.
In a Thursday earnings call, CEO Robert Thomson lamented the “dysfunctional, and sometimes dystopian” digital media environment into which News Corp. was being shoehorned.
“The bot-infested badlands are hardly a safe space for advertisers, whose brands are being tainted by association with the extreme, the violent and the repulsive,” Thomson said.
While News Corp.’s digital mastheads are growing, Thomson said “the potential returns for our journalism would be far higher in a less chaotic, less debased digital environment.”
The company said print circulation had declined in the quarter, and attributed a 6 percent year-over-year decline in advertising revenue to “weakness in the print advertising market and the decision to cease The Wall Street Journal’s international print editions in the second quarter of fiscal 2018.”
Still, News Corp., like other major media outlets, has felt a boost in overall subscribers during President Donald Trump‘s often tumultuous first year in the White House.
Trump has shown a clear preference toward programming from Murdoch-owned Fox News. Even still, News Corp. properties have on occasion collided with his administration, which has had a contentious relationship with the press.
Trump, in an exclusive interview with the Journal, was quoted as saying “I probably have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un.” Days later, the White House asserted that Trump had actually said “I’d probably have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” ultimately leading the Journal to release a recording of the interview in its own defense.