News Corp. looks to Opcity lead-generation to boost real estate services biz

The media company said quarterly revenue dipped 5% for digital real estate services, which includes Realtor.com

TRD NATIONAL /
Feb.February 07, 2020 05:04 PM
Rupert Murdoch and David Doctorow (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Rupert Murdoch and David Doctorow (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

News Corp. is banking on lead-generation platform Opcity to boost the fortunes of its digital real estate services, whose revenue dipped 5 percent last quarter.

CEO Robert Thomson acknowledged in an earnings call Thursday that quarterly returns were somewhat soft: year-over-year revenue for real estate services fell to $294 million last quarter from $311 million in 2018. But he said the company anticipates a boost from its lead-generation overhaul.

“Key indicators for the property market are encouraging, and we expect to see improvements at Move [News Corp. owns Move, which is parent company of Realtor.com] in the second part of the year, largely due to the progress at Opcity,” he said.

News Corp. acquired Opcity for $210 million in 2018 and rolled it out on Realtor.com last year. Opcity vets leads before it sends them to agents, and also collects a referral fee.

Closing rates with Opcity were strong, the company said, and the average number of unique users on Realtor.com’s site was up year-over-year by 9 percent, to 59 million. More than half of those views came from mobile phones.

Thompson said he also see the company boosting its side projects, or “adjacencies” “as we further leverage our deep transaction data, which is made significantly more valuable by Opcity’s ability to define and refine leads.”

Move this week welcomed new CEO David Doctorow, who came to the company from eBay. He succeeds acting CEO Tracey Fellows, who will return to her position as News Corp.’s president of global digital real estate.

Move’s revenue dipped slightly last quarter — which News Corp. counts as its second quarter — to $121 million from $122 million, year over year. News Corp. CFO Susan Panuccio noted on Thursday’s call that overall “real estate revenues grew 4 percent.” The increased real estate revenue figure was led by growth in audience and higher lead volumes, she added.

Overall second-quarter revenue at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp was $2.5 billion, down 6 percent from the previous year.

Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at [email protected]


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