News Corp earnings were up across the board, as the company swung to a profit of $254 million ($0.10) in Q4, reversing $6.4 billion loss. The company said this reflected double-digit growth at its “majority business segments.” Even the newspaper/information segment was up, gaining 29.5 percent over last year’s period. While the success in the newspaper segment is noteworthy, News Corp (NYSE: NWS). chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch singled out praise for the “prudent, creative risks” of producing the box office record-breaker Avatar as helping lead the company into a sustained period of growth. In contrast to other newspaper publishers, like Gannett (NYSE: GCI) and McClatchy (NYSE: MNI), which have been able to point to slowing ad declines as representing a degree of success, the WSJ print edition was able to produce a 5 percent gain. The WSJ Digital Network did even better, generating 17 percent more revenues than it did in Q408.
To get a sense of what sort of effect Avatar had on the company, News Corp.‘s filmed entertainment division’s operating income was $324 million, triple the amount it was in Q408. So far, Avatar has brought in over $2 billion, making it the highest grossing film ever.
The other juggernaut at News Corp. is Fox News, which contributed to the cable division’s 35 percent growth during the quarter.