News Corp profits up in third quarter

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has reported operating profits of $2.7 billion (£1.4bn) in the first three months of this year, a 16 per cent increase over the same period last year.

Newspapers and information services accounted for $216 (£108m) of that total, an increase of $60 million (£30m), or 38 per cent, over the previous year.

In addition to the inclusion of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones, News Corp credited strong growth in display ads in Australia and lower transition costs to the new printing facilities in the UK for the growth in that segment.

A breakdown of revenues at the UK national newspaper division News International – which publishes The Times, Sunday Times, Sun and News of the World – was not specified, but the company said that it had reported increased operating income relative to the same quarter a year ago, primarily due to reduced depreciation on presses that were decommissioned when the company moved to its new printing plant in Broxbourne.

The company said advertising and circulation revenues at News International “were in-line with the prior year”.

News Corp’s magazines and inserts, meanwhile, reported a nine per cent decline in operating income to $93 million. The company blamed lower advertising rates and a decline in page volume for free-standing inserts.

US cable news channel Fox News reported 11 per cent growth in operating income. It benefited from higher affliliate and subscription revenues due to increased rates, but these were offset by higher costs arising from coverage of the US presidential primaries.

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