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News Corps. Posts $6.4B Loss

News Corps., announcing their second quarter statistics, reported a $6.4 billion loss (per VARIETY), the third media conglomerate of the week behind Disney and Time Warner to post extreme losses.

Twentieth Century Fox's operating income fell 72 percent to $112 million. Chairman Rupert Murdoch called the financial crisis "the worst since News Corp. was formed" 50 years ago, in a post-earnings conference call. "Our results for the quarter are a direct reflection of the grim economic climate. While we anticipated a weakening, the downturn is more severe and likely longer lasting than previously thought."

A weaker film slate in 2008 contributed to the dramatic losses, with MARLEY & ME one of the few bright spots on the quarter. DVD numbers also sagged, but President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin said it was "too soon to tell" if the decline was a long-term trend or a response to the flailing economy.

Murdoch also said that the expensive AUSTRALIA, despite a disappointing domestic box office haul, will make a small profit due to strong foreign receipts and ancillaries.

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