By Marian McPherson, Inman News
News Corp., the parent company of Move Inc., Realtor.com and Australia-based REA Group, on Thursday released its quarterly and fiscal full-year 2019 earnings results. Revenues at Move increased year over year and during the full fiscal year.
Move’s quarterly 2019 revenue increased 3% year-over-year to $123 million, and full fiscal-year revenues increased 7% to $484 million. News Corp. executives said the acquisition of real estate lead-generation technology platform Opcity was responsible for Move’s real estate revenue growth, which increased by 8% in fiscal Q4 and 16% for the full year.
Collectively, Move and REA Group’s revenue for the fiscal year increased 2% year-over-year.
Overall, News Corp. experienced an 8% decline to $2.7 billion in Q4 revenue, partially due to fluctuations in foreign currency and lower revenue in the company’s book publishing segment. But full-year results increased 12% year-over-year from $9 billion to $10.1 billion.
“Both REA and Realtor.com strengthened their competitive positions through strategic acquisitions and product enhancements, despite headwinds in housing markets,” the earnings statement said. “We note with interest the recent signs of improvement in the U.S. housing environment, with lead volume improving, record traffic to realtor.com and an uptick in pending home sales.”
Despite the decline, News Corp. revenues surpassed analysts’ expectations by $20 million — something that may bolster the company’s stock market value, which wavered after Q3 2019’s earnings report failed to meet predictions. …
In 2018, News Corp. acquired Opcity, a real estate lead-generation technology platform that matches vetted buyers and sellers with real estate agents in real time, for $210 million. The company said Opcity would let Realtor.com offer agents two lead-generation experiences: a traditional pipeline where agents could vet and convert leads themselves or a concierge model where Opcity could vet leads for them.
What was thought to be a sure hit hit some snags in March when the company began solely offering Opcity in select markets. Agents immediately voiced concerns, saying the new model could negatively impact their sales numbers, since they’d only receive Opcity-approved leads.
Since then, Realtor.com has experienced a few shake-ups, including eliminating its entire Arizona sales staff and consolidating its California sales teams, and losing one of its major lead generation clients — both of which were attributed to the acquisition of Opcity and the resulting changes. Then Move CEO Ryan O’Hara left the company in June, putting the company in the hands of acting CEO Tracey Fellows.
During the call, News Corp. revealed plans for FY 2020, saying it would continue to streamline Realtor.com operations and continue improving the Opcity platform. The company said Opcity has yielded more engagement and better leads for clients, but that it had learned from March’s test with Opcity-only markets and that, from now on, would only offer traditional and Opcity’s concierge-based model.
© Copyright 2019, Inman News. Reprinted with permission; edited for length and style