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News Corp. Beats Estimates On Profit, Revenue But Digital Losses Increase

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Avatar didn’t bring home the Oscar for best picture but it helped News Corp (NYSE: NWS) to a win for its FYQ3 — revenue up nearly 19 percent to $8.8 billion and a profit of $839 million. The cable networks also gave a big assist, including the best quarter ever for Fox News Channel thanks to higher affiliate fees and ad revenue. But it’s a different story for MySpace and Digital Media Group, nestled in the catchall “other” category: no specific numbers, just the simple statement “operating losses increased from a year ago, principally due to lower search and advertising revenue.” The category was down 70.5 percent year, in part because of the loss of operating income from NDS that use to offset some of the losses.

How did Dow Jones fare? The numbers aren’t broken out but the operating income for the newspaper segment more than tripled to $132 million. Ad revenues for the Wall Street Journal jumped 25 percent, circ revenue was higher, too, but the company said both were offset by lower info services revenue. News Corp Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said during the call that was up 11 percent and that Dow Jones was making over $100 million in digital ad revenue.

About that profit: Technically News Corp. took a big hit on profit compared with the same quarter last year, which included major one-time gains. But the company did beat expectations handily, with $0.32 earnings per share compared with the $0.23 per share consensus analysts came up with when queried by FactSet Research (via Marketwatch). Revenue also came in higher.