Bucking the trend of the larger newspaper industry, News Corp is trouncing rivals including The New York Times.
The Wall Street Journal topped 2 million digital subscriptions for the first time, while its sister news service, Dow Jones set a new record of 3.5 million subscriptions, while revenue growth at rose 4 percent, exceeding the NYT's growth of 1 percent.
"The news and information services segment showed tangible improvement in the quarter," Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp told Wall Street analysts Thursday night on the company's earnings call. "Dow Jones had another strong quarter with 17 percent growth in digital-only subscribers, including 13 percent growth in Wall Street Journal digital subscriptions year over year."
Along with the WSJ, Dow Jones also publishes Barron’s Group and it's Professional Information Business includes Risk & Compliance, Newswires and Factiva.
“Dow Jones is significantly more digital than The New York Times, with 62 percent digital revenues as we reported at fiscal year-end, including our growing Professional Information Business,” said Thomson.
The strength of the performances of these news properties, Thomspon says, shows there is a “strong and growing appetite for factual, fair and deeply reported journalism, and our latest subscription and financial results demonstrate how well Dow Jones, the Journal and our other publications and products are serving that vital public need."
In the call with analysts, Thomson talked about the ongoing battle with digital players such as Apple and Facebook to receive equitable treatment for quality content. "Our deals with Apple and Facebook are beginning to yield financial dividends for us, and we welcome their respect for the premium journalism produced by the talented professionals at News Corp.”
Looking toward future growth, Thomson sees promise in brand extensions to other platforms. "Our efforts to leverage the Wall Street Journal's content continued to yield benefits and are clearly seen in the success of The Journal, the podcast produced with Spotify," said Thomson, "Since its September launch, there have been 20 million downloads."
News Corp. posted earnings of $0.18 per share, beating the Zacks analyst consensus estimate of $0.13 per share. Over the last four quarters, the company has surpassed consensus earnings per share estimates three times.