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News Corp. Q1 Earnings Beat Wall Street View

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News Corp. (NWS,NWSA), the company owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, Wednesday reported an increase in profit for the first quarter, as revenues surged 23 percent. Earnings for the quarter easily trumped Wall Street estimates.

The New York-based media company reported a first-quarter profit available to News Corp. shareholders of $101 million or $0.17 per share, up from last year's profit of $68 million or $0.12 per share.

Adjusted earnings were $97 million or $0.17 per share, up from $40 million or $0.07 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.04 per share.

Revenues for the quarter jumped 23 percent to $2.52 billion from $2.06 billion last year. Analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $2.53 billion.

The growth reflects the impact from the consolidation of Foxtel's results following the combination of Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia into a new company and continued strong performances at the Digital Real Estate Services and Book Publishing segments.

Revenue at key news and information services segment, which includes Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, rose 1 percent from a year ago to $1.25 billion. Among smaller segments, book publishing rose 4 percent; digital real estate gained 8 percent and subscription video services increased to $565 million from $145 million.

Chief Executive Robert Thomson said, "In the first quarter, our growth in revenue and earnings reaffirmed our strategy to focus on digital development, and to put particular emphasis on subscriptions as the advertising market continues to evolve."

"Digital Real Estate Services continued to post strong operational gains, and we took an important strategic step forward with the acquisition of Opcity, which deepens the quality of our engagement with realtors and homebuyers."

In April, News Corp and Telstra combined their respective 50% interests in Foxtel and News Corp's 100% interest in Fox Sports Australia into a new company Foxtel. News Corp now owns a 65% interest in new Foxtel with Telstra owning the remaining 35%.

Digital revenues represented 33 percent of News and Information Services segment revenues in the quarter, compared to 27 percent a year ago. The Wall Street Journal average daily digital subscribers in the three months ended September 30, 2018 were 1,584,000, up from 1,318,000 a year ago.

NWS closed Wednesday's trading at $13.43, up $0.16 or 1.21% on the NYSE. The stock further gained $0.36 or 2.68% in the after-hours trade.

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