News Corp’s revenue has fallen for the fourth successive quarter , illustrating both its own problems and those besetting newspaper industries in advanced economies. That has the hallmarks of a recession, does it not?
Now it would appear that cuts are inevitable at the company’s major titles in Britain and Australia following worse-than-expected second quarter results.
Chief executive Robert Thomson hinted at the need to consider cutbacks in saying: “Cost cutting has a short-term cost and a long-term benefit.”
That sounds ominous for staffs at the Times, Sunday Times and the Sun as well as major titles in Australia and, quite possibly, in New York too.
Ever since Rupert Murdoch agreed to split the old News Corporation into two, placing the lucrative entertainments division into a separate entity, 21st Century Fox, the publishing group, new News Corp, has found things tough.
It was always going to be the case, of course, because newspapers are no longer able to generate anything like the cash of the pre-digital age.
As has been said ceaselessly for years, the old business model in which papers were funded by advertising, no longer works. And no-one has found a viable new business model, based around monetising online access, to replace it.
Murdoch put a great deal of faith in charging audiences to read his papers’ digital products but that strategy hasn’t proved to work, not yet anyway. He also had to change tack at the Sun by pulling down its paywall as numbers went into severe decline.
Although he may be a little more heartened by the Times/Sunday Times performance, the digital readership is anything but sparkling.
Even so, his News UK operation in Britain is clearly doing better than News in Australia, where revenue fell badly. Thomson didn’t conceal his disappointment when speaking to investors: “For our Australian mastheads, it was clearly a difficult quarter in advertising.”
That would suggest cost-cutting of some kind at the Australian, the Sydney Daily Telegraph and the Brisbane Herald Sun.
Note also another Thomson phrase about “sharing services around News Corp to streamline operations at the newspapers in Australia and the UK.”
The numbers do look frightening, given that there is no sign of an upturn. News Corp’s first half profits, in the six months up to 31 December 2015, fell 18.5% compared with the first half of the previous financial year, dropping from $546m (£378m)to $445m (£308m).
One possible saving, if slight, will be the tailing off of costs caused by the phone-hacking scandal. These rose 40% to £4.8m in the second quarter compared to the previous three months but, presumably, that will be the last big tranche.
WATCH: Video shows NYPD beating anti-police violence protesters with batons
Protesters of police violence received a harsh reception from the New York Police Department on Friday evening.
The protesters had marched to the Barclays Center, where they were met with a large police presence.
Heavy police presence posted outside of Barclays Center. If you’re protesting, please stay safe.
Trump is enacting the presidency ‘George Wallace never had’: Conservative columnist
On Friday, writing for The Washington Post, conservative columnist Max Boot tore into President Donald Trump's legacy on race.
"We know how a normal president responds when a white police officer ignites furious protests by killing a black man. It is the way President Barack Obama responded in 2014 after a grand jury refused to indict a white police officer who had fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the National Guard had to be called in to deal with looting and fires," wrote Boot. "Obama expressed sympathy for the protesters — their anger, he noted, was 'rooted in realities that have existed in this country for a long time' — while making clear that he had no sympathy with violence: 'Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk — that’s destructive and there’s no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts. And people should be prosecuted if they engage in criminal acts.'"
White House goes into lockdown as George Floyd protests in DC rage hotter
On Friday, CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang reported that the White House has now issued lockdown orders.
The development comes as protests against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota have spread to Washington, D.C. and crowds are growing angrier. Earlier in the evening, a protester scaled the wall of a federal building and spray-painted an obscene anti-Trump message above a window.
The White House is currently under lockdown orders. https://t.co/LasnCIjkum