News Corp. Beats the Street in 2Q

Global media conglomerate News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWSA) on Wednesday said its quarterly earnings more than doubled from a year earlier on the strength of growth at its cable networks both in the U.S. and abroad.

For its fiscal second quarter News Corp. reported net income of $642 million, or 24 cents a share, compared with $254 million, or 10 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose by 1% to $8.76 billion, up from $8.68 billion during the same period a year ago.

“I am confident that the significant positive momentum from these businesses will not only continue to drive News Corporation’s growth for the remainder of the fiscal year, but also strengthen the Company for growth in the years to come,” said News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch in a statement.

News Corp. is the parent company of

The most recent quarterly figures included restructuring charges related to an overhaul of MySpace, the company’s social networking site that has fallen in popularity to behemoth competitor Facebook.

Excluding those one-time charges, the company's adjusted per-share earnings came in at 29 cents, a penny above the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

During a conference call with analysts after the close of U.S. stock markets, News Corp. officials said the company continued to its explore its options regarding MySpace.

The company’s cable television unit, home to the highly profitable prime time shows featuring personalities such as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, reported quarterly operating income of $735 million, which represents a 22% or $131 million increase over the same period a year ago.

The increase came despite a month-long blackout in some regions the result of a dispute with cable provider Cablevision.

The company’s television unit reported operating income of $151 million, or an increase of $122 million compared with a year ago. The increase was due to a $121 million increase in revenues at Fox Television Stations and FOX Broadcasting Company, the company said.

News Corp. cited the stronger overall local advertising market, “particularly in the automotive and financial sectors, as well as increased levels of political advertising,” for the growth in television profits.

The company’s film unit saw its income decline from a year ago to $189 million from $324 million. News Corp. said income dropped at the unit primarily because the year ago quarter was boosted by video sales of the blockbuster film Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

Also Wednesday, News Corp. introduced its much anticipated tablet newspaper The Daily, with Murdoch claiming the all-digital platform is the future of news delivery.

"We believe The Daily will be the model for how stories will be told and consumed," Murdoch said at a launch event in New York City.

Murdoch said it cost $30 million to date to launch The Daily and will cost about $500,000 a week to operate. It will initially be available on Apple’s iPad but will eventually be viewed on other tablet devices.

In the U.S., The Daily app will cost 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year, News Corp. said.

The Daily will be published every day beginning Wednesday and will include up to 100 pages of news, opinion, sports and lifestyle content, including audio and video.