News Corp dips on ‘Avatar’ effect

News Corporation has reported a 21 per cent fall in Q1 profits suffering in comparison with the quarter last year when 3D movie Avatar was making so much money. Net profit was $682 million in the first three months of 2011.

News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch said the company had struggled to match Avatar’s takings but predicted improvements. “The great response to Rio (the movie) and our confidence in our upcoming releases indicate that the difficult comparisons in this segment over the past nine months are now behind us,” he said.

“I’m particularly pleased that our television segment, viewed by the market just one year ago as a challenged business, more than quadrupled its earnings contributions over the prior year quarter.”

Income at its film division was halved to $248 million, but the cable programming unit’s income grew 25 per cent to $735 million.

Along with the swings and roundabouts of box office hits, the results again showed News’s reliance on swings in advertising across its FTA business and newspapers. The steadiness and growth of Sky’s subs income explains its keenness to land ownership.

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