Guess what? News Ltd (Rupert Murdoch’s Australian newspaper and media group) saw no gain in operating profit in the year to June, so its still more than 30% down on the earnings recorded in 2008.
You won’t read that in a News Ltd outlet.
But you can bet that the scribes at News Ltd publications will give the Fairfax Media results a thorough going over when the latter reports on Friday, August 27. The News Ltd websites and then the papers the next day and on Monday in the Media section of The Australian, will be full of various stories, opinion and downright rubbish.
But one thing you can be certain of is that the News Ltd papers will give far more coverage and analysis to Fairfax than they have so far given (or will) to the performance of News Ltd in the year to June.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Apart from reporting what was in the quarterly and final year earnings statement issued last week, News Ltd journalists and especially those at The Australian have not bothered to look more deeply into their employer’s performance in the 2010 financial year.
But the annual report filed with the US SEC a day after the earnings statement was released gives an idea.
In short there seems to have been no calamities, but earnings at News Ltd did not increase in the year to June and remained at their lows of the 2009 financial year.
This is what News Corp told the SEC in the annual report:
“For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, the Australian newspapers’ revenues increased 16% as compared to fiscal 2009, primarily due to the impact of favorable foreign exchange fluctuations. The weakening of the US dollar against the Australian dollar resulted in revenue increases of approximately 19% for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010.
“Local currency revenues decreased for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, primarily due to lower circulation and lower advertising revenues as a result of a decrease in classified advertising volume.
“Operating income in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010 was consistent with that of fiscal 2009, as the revenue increases noted above and reduction in operating costs resulting from cost containment initiatives were offset by higher newsprint costs and costs associated with various initiatives. The weakening of the US dollar against the Australian dollar resulted in an operating income increase of approximately 16% for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010.”
The key is what happened in the 2009 year. This is what News told the SEC:
“For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009, the Australian newspapers’ revenues decreased 24% as compared to fiscal 2008, primarily due to the impact of unfavorable foreign exchange fluctuation and lower classified and display advertising revenues.
“Operating income decreased 36% in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009 as compared to fiscal 2008, primarily due to the revenue decreases noted above and increased other employee related costs.”
So 2010 operating income at News Ltd (operating profit as we know it here) was “consistent with that of fiscal 2009” or 36% down on 2008. in in the books of News Corp in the US, rose by 16% because of the rise of the Aussie dollar against the greenback. Remember this is on an unquantified drop in revenues in Australian dollars (but which were also up 16% when received in US dollars by News Corp)
That’s to be kept in mind when you look at how News Ltd reports the Fairfax and other media results (and other company results).