News Corp. Profits Rise 15 Percent

Wednesday, May 10th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — News Corp., the media conglomerate run by Rupert Murdoch, reported a 15 percent gain in quarterly profits Wednesday led by strong showings at the Fox movie and TV studios.

News Corp. earned $193 million in the three months ended March 31, up from $168 million in the same period a year ago. Earnings for each U.S.-listed share rose to 18 cents from 17 cents. Revenues rose to $3.2 billion from $3.1 billion.

News Corp.'s headquarters are located in Sydney, but the company has many operations in the United States, including the Fox movie and TV studios, the Fox TV network, the HarperCollins book publisher and the New York Post.

The quarter's biggest gain in operating revenue, 150 percent, came from the company's entertainment studios, which had a box office hit with ``The Beach'' and success on the small screen with ``Malcolm in the Middle.''

However, earnings from television slumped 26 percent as advertising revenues fell off in comparison to last year, when Fox stations broadcast the Super Bowl. Ratings for the Fox network also have been struggling overall.

Earnings at News Corp.'s newspaper division, which includes The Times of London and several newspapers in Australia, rose 16 percent over the same period a year ago on stronger advertising revenues.

HarperCollins, which has been emerging from a slump, reported a big jump in operating profits to $12 million from $2 million in the same period a year ago. Last summer the division acquired William Morrow and Avon Books from Hearst Corp.

Shares of News Corp. were down $1.50, or 3 percent, to $48.37 1/2 at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.