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News Corp Meets Earnings Expectations on Strong Digital Performance

Media giant delivers $0.24 per share on $2.3 billion in revenue

News Corp (NWS) unveiled its second-quarter fiscal 2015 earnings on Thursday after the stock markets closed, reporting earnings per share (EPS) of $0.24 per share on $2.3 billion in revenue.

The performance essentially nailed Wall Street’s projections, according to estimates by both Bloomberg and Zacks.

EPS was down versus the same three-month period last year, when News Corp reported $0.31. Revenue was up slightly compared to the $2.2 billion from 2014.

News Corp cited its strong digital real estate revenues, which was up $51 million, or 50 percent, compared to the same time last year primarily thanks to the acquisition of online realtor “Move” in the final quarter of 2014.

Book publishing was also a bright spot, up $78 million, or 20 percent, compared to the same time last year by way of the success of  “Harlequin” and strong performances in children’s and general books.

Commenting on the results, Chief Executive Robert Thomson said:

“The development of the new News Corp continued apace in the second quarter as we began the transformation of the just acquired realtor.com®, which has certainly exceeded our expectations in traffic growth in recent weeks. We were clearly buffeted by currency headwinds, but the strength of our brands, the breadth of our reach, the intensifying focus on cost discipline and the power of our portfolio meant that we saw continued growth in revenue and increasing upside in our long-term prospects. Our digital personality has evolved quickly, with realtor.com® having given us a new and influential platform, digital subscribers on the rise at our news mastheads, robust growth at REA, and healthy e-book sales at HarperCollins. The vision we outlined for the company is becoming a reality, and while we have much work ahead, the foundations we have laid over the past 18 months put us in a strong position for enduring success and increased shareholder value.”

The company’s quarterly earnings call kicked off at 4:30 p.m. ET on Thursday. Thomson noted News Corp didn’t have full possession on the online realtor “Move” until halfway through the quarter, so it’s probably digital growth will spike even more during the in-progress quarter.