TV advertising lifts profits at News Corporation

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The Independent Online

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp reported a 69 per cent jump in quarterly profit, driven by increased sales of DVDs and improved television advertising on the strength of the Fox News Channel and the hit show "American Idol".

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp reported a 69 per cent jump in quarterly profit, driven by increased sales of DVDs and improved television advertising on the strength of the Fox News Channel and the hit show "American Idol".

Mr Murdoch, the chairman, insisted that the media giant remained "on track" to complete the planned move of its primary listing and official domicile from Australia to the US. There have been reports some Australian investors were unhappy about the move but Mr Murdoch said there had been a "very positive reaction from shareholders".

On the group's UK newspapers, which include The Times and The Sunday Times, Mr Murdoch dismissed a recent filing made by Times Newspapers at Companies House which showed a £29m loss for the last financial year for these two titles. He said that The Sunday Times was very profitable while The Times also made money. "It [ The Times] doesn't make a fortune but it doesn't lose money," he said.

He trumpeted News Corp's collection of satellite distribution platforms for television that now exists in the UK, Asia, Italy and the US, with the recent acquisition of a controlling stake in DirecTV. He said the group now had 27 million direct subscribers. "We're the biggest pay-TV operator in the world," he said.

Losses at Sky Italia, created last year, were coming down faster than expected. But Mr Murdoch said he had no plans to enter other European markets: "That's all I want to do in Europe right now. It's just too difficult to get through the Brussels bureaucracy and the limits they put on you."

Mr Murdoch said that his Fox network in the US was looking to launch a new channel but would not comment on speculation that this would be a business news station.

News Corp posted net profits for the third quarter, to 31 March, of $465m, with gains "across the board". DVD movies such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and box office ticket sales helped push operating profits up 6 per cent in the film division.

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