NewsCorp tightlipped on HC results

Operating income at HarperCollins' parent NewsCorp's publishing sector slumped $207m to $36m (£21.8m) in its latest set of results.

As has become customary, the NewsCorp results do not mention HarperCollins or its book publishing business. The publishing sector includes HarperCollins' performance as well as that of its newspaper businesses.

For the three months to 31st March, NewsCorp blamed the slump on a $125m legal settlement in its integrated marketing services division. Excluding this charge, operating income fell $82m on a like-for-like basis, which was blamed on lower newspaper advertising revenue, the costs of launching its iPad newspaper The Daily and lower contributions from the integrated marketing services business. Sales also fell from $2.12bn to $2.08bn in the same period.

The only indication of its publishing performance was a report in Publishers Marketplace, which claimed US digital sales accounted for 19% of publishing revenue and digital sales were worth 11% of worldwide HC sales.

In a statement, a HarperCollins spokesperson said: "Against a tough economic background, HC UK had a strong first quarter in 2011. There were good performances from Collins' Brian Cox and Tarouk Malouf (Hummingbird Bakery) and also on a baking theme, Non Fiction's Lorraine Pascale. All continued to dominate the top ten and boosted revenues significantly. Children's success continued with Will Hill's Department 19 and a new Skulduggery Pleasant paperback from Derek Landy. Perennial favourites Cathy Kelly, Josephine Cox and Raymond Feist also did well in Fiction; and Education continues to make a strong contribution." For the first quarter of 2011, Nielsen BookScan figures revealed sales at HC UK fell 3% to £23.4m.

Overall at NewsCorp, third quarter operating income fell from $1.25bn to $1.06bn. Revenue fell from $8.79bn to $8.26bn.