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  • Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has taken a hit on the market today after releasing a weak quarterly report
  • Company CEO Robert Thomas said a sluggish Australian economy was to blame for News Corp’s $211 million loss
  • Revenue sunk seven per cent compared to this time last year as print-related media fell alongside weaker Foxtel subscriptions
  • The company is gearing up to bring in more digital news sales as it teams up with Facebook and Apple
  • News Corp shares are down 3.82 per cent at midday trade and worth $19.65 each

News Corp, the controlling body of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, has reported some heavy losses during the first quarter of the new FY.

Company CEO Robert Thomas blamed a “sluggish” Australian economy for the weak results which saw News Corp record a $211 million loss over the quarter, compared to the $128 million net income over the same period last year.

Total company revenue also took a seven per cent hit over the quarter, declining to $2.34 billion from $2.52 billion in the first quarter of the 2019 financial year.

Robert highlighted, however, a “significant one-time revenue item” from last year — relating to the company’s exit from Sun Bets — and thus suggested that comparisons between the time periods may not be truly reflective of the company’s efforts this quarter.

Still, in an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange today, News Corp said the poor quarter reflected lower print-related advertising revenues at the company’s News and Information Services segment, lower Foxtel subscriptions, and a challenging Australian housing market.

News Corp, however, is looking to the digital news market to make up losses in the future.

The company is brushing shoulders with other business empires announcing a lucrative partnership with Facebook and a growing relationship with Apple as it revs up to launch its Apple News Plus product.

“We are pleased to note tangible progress in our efforts to secure payment for our high-quality content from digital platforms, a global cause which News Corp has led for more than a decade,” Robert said in today’s announcement.

“With the dominant platforms under intense regulatory scrutiny, there has been a fundamental shift in the content landscape, highlighted by Facebook’s decision to pay a significant premium for our premium journalism,” he explained.

“This development establishes a precedent that changes the terms of trade and we expect a positive financial impact at our News and Information Services segment, beginning this fiscal year,” he said.

Despite the weakened quarterly results, News Corp managed to find a small silver lining at its Move business, which grew four per cent over the quarter. Move is home to realtor.com

News Corp owns some massive household names, ranging from Fox Entertainment Group to Harper Collins to Dow Jones & Company — not to mention its hundreds of newspapers.

Today’s report saw company stocks slide on the ASX, with shares down 3.82 per cent at midday trade and worth $19.65 each.

NWS by the numbers
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