News Corp (NWSA) Suffers in First Quarter Since Split

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- News Corp (NWSA) disappointed investors in the first quarter since splitting with 21st Century Fox (FOX) in June. The Rupert Murdoch-owned conglomerate reported a 3% fall in first-quarter revenue to $2.07 billion, less than the $2.2 billion analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected. Net profit of 3 cents a share missed estimates by 2 cents.

The New York-based company said declining revenue in its core newspaper and information services units, which account for 70% of total revenue, were to blame. Buffeted by falling ad sales and declining print readership, the division saw revenue fall 10%, or $171 million, to $1.5 billion.

Weakness in its Australian newspaper properties was responsible for 70%, or $121 million, of total revenue loss, primarily due to a 25% decline in ad revenue. Advertising revenue across all newspaper properties declined 12%. Among its properties, News Corp owns The Wall Street Journal, Times of London, The New York Post and The Australian.

Speaking on a conference call, CEO Robert Thomson said the need to evolve was clear.

"We must generate more advertising revenue, but overall, be less dependent on advertising and much more subscription-focused," he said. "We must take advantage of the rise of mobile as a platform. Across our businesses, we are seeing exponential increases in the use of smartphones and tablets to access our content."

In morning trading, shares have fallen 3.2% to $16.86. Since its split on June 20, the stock has risen 6.7%.

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.

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