News Corp Q4 Revenue and Earnings Drop Due to Advertising Declines

“American Sniper” book sales boost company’s Publishing segment

Robert Thomson News Corp

News Corp had a soft fiscal fourth quarter 2015 as advertising revenues in the News and Information segment — the company’s bread and butter — declined 13 percent overall. That group’s overall sales dropped 10 percent year over year, while Cable revenue slipped 2 percent.

Book Publishing was a bright spot, accounting for the company’s second biggest revenue stream. The division includes powerful publisher HarperCollins, with “American Sniper” book sales driving results in the quarter.

The conglomerate’s third largest division, Digital Real Estate Services, jumped 67 percent on its own line item, thanks mostly to the popularity of

News Corp’s $0.07 per share in earnings bested Yahoo Finance’s analyst consensus of $0.05 on revenue of $2.19 billion. Zack’s estimated EPS coming in at the same level. The media giant missed its sales mark, however.

Factoring in an impairment charge due to essentially giving up on its Amplify Access products, News Corp actually lost $0.65 per share.

News Corp stock (NWSA) was slightly up both during and after the U.S. trading day Wednesday.

Commenting on the actual results, Chief Executive Robert Thomson (pictured above) said: “Thanks to solid performance across a number of our businesses, including the fast-growing, we had a strong fourth quarter finish to a good fiscal year. Despite an uneven global economy, very tough currency headwinds and the ongoing transformation of the media landscape, for fiscal 2015 we posted stable revenues, robust EBITDA growth and healthy free cash flow.

“With disciplined internal investments, strategic acquisitions and ongoing product innovation, we have aggressively shifted the company to be more global and more digital. We have clearly emerged as an international leader in digital real estate, opened up new territories at HarperCollins, expanded digital subscriber penetration at our mastheads and successfully integrated our programmatic exchange, creating new digital and mobile advertising opportunities across News Corp.

“We have begun to execute on a capital return program that signifies our confidence in the prospects of the company and the efficacy of its long-term strategy. The year ahead will be an opportunity to build on the sound and profitable platform we have collectively created.”

An investor call is set for 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday.