(Reuters) – News Corp <NWSA.O> reported a 22% fall in quarterly revenue on Thursday, as widespread business closures due to the coronavirus crisis hit ad sales at its newspapers and websites.
Shares of the company, which separated Dow Jones into a new unit, fell 3.6% after the bell.
“The creation of the Dow Jones segment allows us to make a direct comparison with the New York Times,” Chief Executive Robert Thomson said on a post-earnings call.
Digital-only subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal, a part of the Dow Jones unit, grew 23% to more than 2.2 million average subscriptions in the quarter, and represented 75% of total subscriptions.
The New York Times Co <NYT.N> said last week its digital unit overtook the legacy print business for the first time.
Ad revenues in News Corp’s largest unit, News Media, which now excludes Dow Jones, declined $290 million.
Big businesses, particularly in the travel and dining industry, have cut back on their ad budgets to save cash to ride out the pandemic, hitting several advertising-based businesses across sectors.
Total revenue dropped to $1.92 billion in the fourth quarter ended June 30, but beat analysts’ average estimate of $1.85 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
News Corp has also considered strategic alternatives for its Dublin-based Storyful unit, The Wall Street Journal reported https://www.wsj.com/articles/news-corp-has-considered-alternatives-for-storyful-unit-including-possible-sale-11596746480?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=4, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Last week, James Murdoch resigned from News Corp’s board, citing disagreements over editorial content at the company founded by his father, conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
The company said net loss attributable to stockholders was $397 million, or 67 cents per share, due to $292 million of non-cash impairment charges related to fixed assets in the UK and Australia and higher restructuring costs due to the pandemic.
(Reporting by Nilanjana Basu and Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Sriraj Kalluvila)