MySpace Ad Dip Drags Down News Corp’s Digital Media Group

News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) blamed “lower search and advertising revenues at MySpace” for higher Q4 and full-year operating losses in its digital media group – but Rupert Murdoch says he’s sticking with the social network for now.

MySpace’s performance meant operating losses in the company’s “other” segment, for the year to June 30, grew by $212 million to $575 million.

Rupert Murdoch told investment analysts: “We’ve got a new management team – we’ve got great confidence in them – they’re doing a major overhaul – it will look very different in the next few months than it has in the last few years. We’re going to see it out for some time yet. Obviously, we’re keping it under very close review.”

News Corp is also writing off $217 million from the value of its outdoor and mobile businesses.

COO Chase Carey said on mobile unit Jamba: “We are pursuing a process to potentially sell that. We prefer to build businesses than buying them. It’s been the foundation on which we’ve built this business. It’s certainly what we plan to pursue.” Read full story on

It wasn’t this bad across the board. News Corp’s group-wide Q4 net income swung up to $875 million, from last year’s $203 million net loss, on six percent higher revenue of $8.11 billion – thanks to an improving ad market, gains from selling its Bulgarian TV station, BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) getting a payments from its EDS lawsuit, and because last year’s quarter contained $680 million in writedowns.

Full-year net income hit $2.5 billion on eight percent higher sales of $32.8 million, which surpassed analysts’ average expectations.

— In Newspapers & information services, quarterly income is a fifth higher than last year at $115 million, on “increased advertising revenues across all of our markets”. In the UK, News International brought home 15 percent more ad money than last year.

— But Dow Jones quarterly results are lower despite 14 percent more advertising income and 11 percent more circulation money – lessened by slides in its information services wing and by missing out on income from the now-sold Index unit.

— In Filmed Entertainment, News Corp lauds sales of Avatar DVDs and Blu-rays, but not even this stopped quarterly income sliding by a third from last year, when movies like the Night At The Museum and X-Men sequels made a strong showing.

— Television income is up 13 percent thanks to improving ad conditions, with Fox Television Studios’ full year up by 45 percent. But higher ad prices at Fox Broadcasting were offset by increased costs for re-signing hit shows and Nascar rights.

— In cable networking programming, full-year ad sales are three percent up from last year but 11 percent up on the previous year’s quarter.