News Corp profits jump despite NOTW hacking bill

News Corporation has reported a lift in profit in its second quarter despite a near $200m bill related to the phone hacking scandal at the now-closed News of the World.

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Net profit rose 65% year on year to $1.06bn (£888m) in the three months to 31 December. Revenue rose 2% to $8.98bn (£5.67bn) in the period.

The media owner attributed the strong figures to advertising growth in its cable network and blockbusters produced by its film division such as The Descendants and X-Men: First Class. News Corp owns the Fox network, 20th Century Fox and has a 39% stake in BSkyB.

News Corp’s publishing arm posted a 43% drop in profit to $162m (£102m), which the media owner blamed on the closure of the News of the World and a slip in advertising revenue at its Australian newspapers.

The sum of costs related to the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World on lawyers, advisers and settlements with victims has now reached $104m (£65.8m). The media owner also announced it had taken a $91m (£57m) charge three months ago for the paper’s closure.

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp chairman and chief executive officer, says: “The significant growth we reported in the quarter in the cable network programming,
television and filmed entertainment segments clearly validates our strategy to develop and distribute superior wide-ranging content. I am particularly pleased with the success of our business strategies in spite of the uncertain economic conditions that we continue to face.”

Separately, News Corp’s UK publishing arm News International announced today (9 February) it has partnered with The Marketing Hall of Legends and The Prince’s Trust to launch a fully-paid marketing apprenticeship scheme to help disadvantaged young people get into the industry.

The Merlin’s Apprentice scheme is run by the Marketing Hall of Legends, which is sponsored by Marketing Week and corporate partners including Microsoft, ITV, Kraft and O2.

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