The global recession and weak advertising markets continue to wreak havoc on News Corporation's balance sheet.
Rupert Murdoch's global media empire has just posted a 17 per cent slide in revenues for the first three months of the year - and his newspapers are doing it particularly tough.
The top-line profit figure came in at $3.6 billion for the quarter, although that was helped by one-off tax gains.
Earnings for global newspapers and the News group nosedived by 97 per cent from the same period a year ago to just $9 million.
His Australian newspapers the Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and The Australian suffered a collective 42 per cent drop in quarterly earnings.
That was on the back of a 16 per cent fall in ad revenue, especially because of the virtual disappearance of both employment and real estate ads.
So bleak is the situation for newspapers that Mr Murdoch is now fast-tracking moves to plug that financial black hole and he is looking very seriously and potentially very quickly at other revenue sources; in particular, charging people to look at news websites.
There is much work to be done as their influence is still too pervasive - take this upcoming event (Media at the speed of light - the time battlefield with Shane Rodgers, Group Project Manager News Ltd.) hosted by the Brisbane Institute:
Over the past 20 years human beings have been presented with an explosion of options to fill their lives but their days are still confined to 24 hours. The result is a major shift in time-use and profound changes in life habits. The changes have coincided with an explosion in “instant” media and a rewriting of the rule books on journalism, advertising and the currency of information.
At the same time economic change and environmental concerns have snapped many Australians out of their complacency and created a new hunger for quality reporting and analysis. This presentation examines the state of play in what was once referred to as the newspaper industry, and the instant information mindset that is revolutionising the definition of news.