News Corporation’s digital real estate services took a hit last quarter, with earnings down and CEO Robert Thomson signaling that another round of cost cutting measures were in store.
News Corp. reported a 4 percent decline in real estate revenue, to $261 million from $272 million in the same period last year. Company-wide, revenue dropped 8 percent to $2.27 billion, attributed in part to the economic fallout from the coronavirus.
“Digital real estate was showing solid progress through January and February, but began experiencing pandemic-related declines in March,” Thomson said in an earnings call Thursday. News Corp. counts the first three months of the year as its third quarter.
The decline was in part from foreign currency fluctuations, but Covid-19 also played a role, he said. The company anticipated the effects of the crisis will be more visible in the next quarter.
Move Inc., a News Corp. subsidiary that operates Realtor.com, reported a 2 percent drop in revenue to $118 million from $121 million in the same period last year, dashing a strong start to 2020.
In response to the pandemic, CFO Susan Panuccio said Realtor.com “instituted a billing-relief initiative in late March for its customers, which was subsequently extended into May.” She added that “the initiatives, together with other Covid-19-related impacts, reduced third-quarter revenues by an estimated $6 million.”
At the same time, internal data showed the average monthly unique users of realtor.com had grown 6 percent year-over-year in the last quarter, to roughly 68 million.
In step with corporations across the world, News Corp. has made efforts to cut costs since the coronavirus outbreak, and more are to come, according to its CEO.
“Significant cost reductions have been implemented across the company, and additional steps will be taken in coming months,” Thomson said in the call.
Executive compensation is one of the items on the chopping block: Thomson said Rupert Murdoch had elected to forgo his annual cash bonus, while Thomson will forgo 75 percent of his.
“For many senior executives, bonuses are the largest component of their cash compensation,” Thomson noted.
Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at [email protected]