Shares of News Corp. (NWSA) were up more than 4% to $12.75 in after-hours trading on Monday after the company's first-quarter revenue for fiscal 2017 surpassed Wall Street's expectations.
After the closing bell, the New York mass media company said it generated revenue of $1.97 billion in the quarter, down 2% year-over-year but beating analysts' estimates of $1.96 billion, according to FactSet. An adjusted loss of 1 cent per share fell short of Wall Street's projections of flat earnings per share. In the same quarter last year, News Corp. posted adjusted earnings of 5 cents per share on revenue of $2.01 billion.
First-quarter revenue in its news and information services segment fell 5% year-over-year to $1.22 billion, led by an 11% drop in advertising revenue. Revenue for the company's book publishing arm also declined 5% to $389 million.
Digital real estate services revenue grew 18% over last year to $226 million, however. Cable network programming also posted modest year-over-year growth of 3%, totaling $128 million in the quarter.
News Corp owns media assets including the New York Post newspaper and book publisher HarperCollins, as well as The Wall Street Journal's parent company, Dow Jones. As the media sector undergoes major changes, News Corp. has set goals of becoming both more global and more digital.
"News Corp. made real progress as it continued to drive higher digital revenues and position the company for long-term growth," CEO Robert Thomson said in a company statement. "While the quarter presented some obvious challenges, particularly in print advertising and the weakness of the pound sterling, our revenues were relatively stable, underscoring the strength and scale of our portfolio and shift to digital."
The company's print assets have struggled alongside a greater market downturn, though. News Corp.'s Dow Jones recently said it would enact a three-year plan to trim costs as print advertising wanes.
Last week, the Journal said it had begun laying off employees as part of the effort to cut costs as the newspaper launches a slimmer print format with fewer sections, sources told Reuters. Journal Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker said in a memo that the paper "must move to create a print edition that can stand on a sound financial footing for the foreseeable future while our digital horizons continue to expand," Reuters said.
The Journal ended the first quarter with 967,000 daily digital subscribers, higher than last year's 819,000.
About 5.5 million shares of News Corp. traded hands on Monday ahead of the earnings release, well above the stock's 30-day average volume of 2.71 million shares.