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In the quarter, Dow Jones achieved record average subscriptions of 3.8 million to its consumer products, led by 28% growth in digital-only subscriptions, including 23% growth in digital-only subscriptions at The Wall Street Journal. In the quest for transparency, NWSA is presenting Dow Jones as a separate segment from Q4 onward. This will allow for a direct comparison with the New York Times.
Below we highlight key drivers of News Corp's value that present opportunities for upside or downside to the current Trefis price estimate for News Corp.
News Corp is a diversified media and information services company. The Company operates in four segments: News and Information Services, Subscription Video Services, Digital Real Estate Services, Book Publishing. The company’s overall business consists of a range of media, including news and information services, sports programming in Australia, digital real estate services, book publishing, and pay-TV distribution in Australia. The company distributes its content under the various popular brands, including The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, Herald Sun, The Sun, The Times, HarperCollins Publishers and Fox Sports Australia. The company recently consolidated Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia (including Sky News), reflecting in the revenue segment Subscription Video Services. This consolidation is expected to make circulation and subscription revenues the biggest revenue stream for News Corp for the first time, guarding the company against the volatile advertising market.
News Corp in 2014 acquired Move Inc. for $950 million. Move Inc. operates the Move Network of real estate websites, which capture more than 35 million monthly visitors and it is the third most trafficked website in the U.S. In 2014, the company also acquired Canada based Harlequin Publishers from Torstar Corporation for around $390 million. In July 2015, News Corp acquired Checkout 51 Mobile, a data-driven digital coupon company that provides News America Marketing with a leading receipt recognition mobile app which enables retailers to reach consumers with highly personalized marketing campaigns. It also acquired Unruly in 2015, which is a leading global video distribution platform that is focused on delivering branded video advertising across websites and mobile devices. In 2016, News Corp completed its acquisition of Wireless group, which operates talkSPORT, the leading sports radio network in the U.K., and a portfolio of radio stations in the U.K. and Ireland, for a sum of $285 million. In 2017, REA Group acquired an 80.3% interest in Smartline Home (Australia’s premier mortgage brokering franchise groups) for approximately $55 million. To add to that, REA Group also acquired Hometrack Australia for $100 million in 2018. Hometrack Australia is a provider of property data services to the financial sector and it allows REA Group to deliver more property data and insights to its customers.
The prime value contributor for News Corp which consists of Dow Jones, News Corp Australia (which includes News Limited and its subsidiaries), News UK (formerly known as News International), and the New York Post. These generate revenue primarily through print and digital advertising sales and through circulation and subscriptions to its print and digital products. News Corp's Wall Street Journal is the leading circulation daily newspaper in the U.S., with an average print and digital circulation of ~3 million.
Online media provides more abundantly available information, that too at a faster rate and cheaper prices when compared to print media. This has effectively rendered print newspapers obsolete, and as online reading is made further easy by tablets/smartphones, both physical circulation and print advertising within newspapers would see a decline going forward.
News Corp's businesses face competition from other sources of news, information and entertainment content delivery, and the consumers are migrating to other media alternatives. This reflects general trends in the newspaper industry, including declining newspaper buying by younger audiences and consumers’ increasing reliance on the Internet for the delivery of news and information, often without charge.
Social networking leaders Facebook have initiated a unique concept of "frictionless sharing" through their Open Graph tools, which enables publishers to instantly get their articles/content shared across a user's network of friends. Various media companies like Yahoo! and Washington Post have adopted the Open Graph to increase user engagement, and we expect more websites to join the bandwagon if they are to increase both web traffic and user engagement. Additionally, the growing penetration and bandwidth capabilities of smartphones and tablets would play a major role in increasing traffic and viewership for media companies.