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Thursday, November 09, 2006

News Corporation And The MySpace Fiction (NWS)

News Corp released earnings for its latest quarter. Revenue rose 4.1% to $5.91 billion. The company made a nifty profit of $843. It has a loss the year earlier. Operating income fell 6.4% to $851 millon.

The company's movie studio did poorly. So did it TV stations. But its cable operation and Fox both had a banner period. Cable operating income grew 26% and Fox's ad revenue drove operating income up 20% at that unit. Roger Ailes may be the most hated man in media, but he delivers the goods.

MySpace is nowhere to be found in the earnings report. God, investors hope it did not get lost. Based on all of the press reports, it is the future of the company. Some nut job at RBC Capital said MySpace would be worth $15 billion in three years.

The only place MySpace could be is in "other", a category for burying the stuff that is too small to report our in segment revenue and operating income. In terms of size, News Corp lists film, entertainment, television, newspapers, cable programming, satellite broadcast, book publishing, and newspaper inserts.

"Other" is slightly bigger than the newspaper insert programs which brought in revenue of $275 billion and operating income of $78 million. That's a good business. Nice margins.

"Other" on the other hand, had revenue of $395 million in the quarter, up nicely from $272 milloin in the same quarter a year ago. Operating loss in the unit (if you can call it that) was $73 million up from a los of $26 million last year.

The News Corp figures show that MySpace is no great shakes, at least not now. News Corp is just another newspaper, cable, and movie studio company. It's well run, but that it is primary distinquishing characteristic. Not MySpace. Not yet.

By the way, get the RBC Capital analyst and flog him

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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