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TheStreet Open House

More Bad News Could Be Ahead for News Corp.

Stocks in this article: NWS

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- When a company reports disappointing earnings -- and did News Corp. (NWS - Get Report) ever -- the media tends to focus on what went wrong.

In the case of News Corp., there was no shortage of obvious weaknesses. Publishing revenue from once-reliably profitable newspapers like The Wall Street Journal cratered 14% to $2.02 billion. Filmed entertainment tanked too.

Preparing to spin publishing assets off into their own reeling entity, News Corp. also took a $2.9 billion write-off. Even apart from that, pickings were slim. Revenue stumbled 7% to $8.37 billion, short of expectations.

Amid all this self-evident gloom, though, the object of greater curiosity might be: What went right? Presumably, something must have. And maybe -- just maybe -- examining what went right will be instructive for the long term, though not necessarily in a positive way.

True, a company can, at least in theory, build on what went right. But if what went right is possibly imperiled, well, look out below.

From AP to CNNMoney, most media outlets spent the bulk of their space surveying the damage at News Corp.

By the time they made their way to the (one) positive -- that the company's cable networks saw a 26% rise in profits -- they did not mention that cable companies, while increasing paid channels and products to push near-term profits, are struggling to maintain subscriber counts. Viewers, with a myriad of options, are starting to cut the cable cord.

In other words, News Corp.'s only division to post an increase in profits is facing a considerable cultural and technological headwind. Analyzing the positive at News Corp. points toward more probable negativity.

At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Fuchs appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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