February 8, 2018 / 9:35 PM / in 8 months

News Corp results beat on gains in digital real estate unit

(Reuters) - Wall Street Journal-owner News Corp (NWSA.O) reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit on Thursday, as growth in its online real estate business helped offset a fall in advertising revenue.

FILE PHOTO: The Fox News electronic ticker is seen outside the News Corporation building in New York City, in New York, U.S., November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

Sales in its news and information services business, which accounts for about two-thirds of total revenue, fell marginally to $1.30 billion in the second quarter.

Advertising revenue fell 6 percent, but those declines were made up by a similar increase in circulation and subscription revenue.

The company’s Dow Jones unit helped drive most of those gains on the back of continued digital subscriber growth at the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper’s average daily digital subscribers jumped 28.6 pct to about 1.4 million.

The company, which is controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, also owns the New York Post and major newspapers in the UK and Australia.

Earlier in the day, rival New York Times Co (NYT.N) also posted strong revenue growth, driven by its online business.

Revenue from New Corp’s online real-estate business rose about 21 percent to $292 million, while its book publishing and cable network programming units also recorded a rise in sales.

Net loss attributable to shareholders narrowed to $83 million, or 14 cents per share, in the second quarter ended Dec. 31 from a loss of $289 million, or 50 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company said it recorded a charge of $174 million related to the new U.S. tax law.

Excluding items, the company earned 24 cents per share.

Total revenue rose to $2.18 billion from $2.12 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 19 cents on revenue of $2.13 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

News Corp’s Dow Jones unit competes with Thomson Reuters, which is the parent of Reuters News, and Bloomberg LP.

Reporting by Shariq Khan and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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