A tough day for News Corp (NYSE: NWS). An $8.4 billion writedown on Dow Jones and other assets in Q4 in addition to a sharp pull back ad revenue contributed to a net loss of $6.41 billion ($2.45 a share). That’s compared with net income of $832 million ($0.27 per share) last year. Revenue meanwhile fell 8.4 percent in Q4, in what CEO Rupert Murdoch called a “grim economic climate.” As usual, no details on the internet businesses in general or MySpace in particular. But in the “other” category, which had an adjusted operating loss of $38 million — down $61 million from a year ago — the decline was due to lower contributions combined with higher costs tied to Fox Interactive Media, which houses MySpace and IPTV tech provider NDS, which was the subject of a just-completed buy-out earlier in the day. The company said: “The decline in FIM operating results was driven by increased costs associated with the growth in unique users, international expansion, the launch of MySpace music and new features, as well as lower subscription revenue at IGN. The decline at NDS was driven by lower conditional access revenue as compared to the same period a year ago.”
– The Newspapers and Information Services segment reported Q4 adjusted operating income of $179 million, down $17 million from the $196 million reported in the same period a year ago, as lower depreciation expense and the inclusion of Dow Jones’ adjusted operating income contributions of $59 million in the quarter were more than offset by falling ad revenues in the U.K. and Australia.
– The U.K. newspaper group reported operating income in local currency terms in line with that from a year ago, as the absence of accelerated depreciation on the decommissioned printing presses was offset by 10 percent lower advertising revenues. Circulation revenues increased slightly during the quarter mainly from price increases.
– Cable Network Programming’s operating income was $428 million, for an increase of $91 million over the second quarter a year ago. This 27 percent growth represents the combined revenues of Fox News Channel, the Big Ten Network and the Fox International Channels. But those gains were eroded by costs related to the continued development of the Fox Business Network.