Rupert Murdoch’s loss-making Australian and UK newspapers and the ongoing phone hacking saga have continued to drag down the profits of his sprawling media empire.
News Corp has announced that its revenue in the second quarter of the 2015 financial year rose by two per cent thanks to more profitable parts of the company.
But revenue from the Australian arm of the company, which includes newspapers The Australian and The Herald Sun fell 8 per cent, in part because of lost advertising income.
Quarterly revenue of $2.28 billion was boosted by gains in News Corp’s book publishing and real estate divisions.
If News Corp journalists in the UK had not illegally listened to recorded phone messages, resulting in expensive court battles, revenue would have been $32 million higher, the company said.
The result was also blamed on falling currency exchange rates and the purchase of new companies.
All of News Corp’s major mastheads lost readers last year, Roy Morgan has found.
The Australian’s readership dropped by 14,000 in December 2014 compared with the previous year, falling to a print readership of 340,000.
Murdoch’s most widely read Australian tabloid, The Herald Sun, lost 148,000 readers, down to a circulation of 892,000.
The Daily Telegraph (-114,000), The Adelaide Advertiser (-38,000), The Courier-Mail (-18,000) and The Geelong Advertiser (-5,000) also suffered readership losses.