Murdoch & News Corp. Tread Through Earnings (NWS)

February 5, 2009 by Douglas A. McIntyre

News Corporation Limited (NYSE: NWS) has just reported earnings.  You know there is no chance that the company was going to be immune to the major slowdown in advertising and earnings.  What is interesting is that the stock was up initially after the report.

News Corp. earned $0.12 non-GAAP EPS on $7.9 billion inrevenue.  There was a net loss after items, and the write-off here isa big one at $8.4 billion in pre-tax goodwill charges. First Call estimates were for $0.19 EPS before items.

The company willemploy rigorous cost-cutting measures across including reducing staff.  It looks likethe company believes the advertising downturn is worse than in other recessions.

TV revenue fell to $1.27 billion from $1.53 billion.

Filmed Entertainment revenue fell to $1.49 billion from $1.98 billion.

Newspapers and information services actually posted a gain year-over-year to $1.51 billion from $1.42 billion.  Go figure.

Cable network programming rose to $1.36 billion from $1.24 billion.

Direct broadcast satellite TV revenues fell to $922 million from $955 million.

Shares closed up 2.7% at $7.45 today and the 52-week trading range is$5,83 to $20.76.  The stock initially popped up on the news not being evenworse.  But shares are down marginally by less than 1% now.

Calling any media company’s earnings "strong" is a stretch.  But thegood news is that it wasn’t a lot worse.  Many media companies aren’teven making money on a non-GAAP basis.

Jon C. Ogg
February 5, 2009