Murdoch Confirms News Corp. Web Goal Cut?

A day after shaving his MySpace revenue forecast by at least 6%, Rupert Murdoch said News Corp.’s (NWS) Internet unit, the bulk of which is MySpace, will do about $1 billion in FY 08. This also appears to be a public pullback from an earlier forecast. Reuters:

News Corp expects its Internet revenue to reach about $1 billion this fiscal year, Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch said on Friday.

The target represents a tightening of its earlier expectations. At the end of its fiscal fourth quarter, News Corp said it would be “surprised” if its Fox Interactive Media Internet division revenues “do not exceed $1 billion with margins well above 20 per cent.”

We think News Corp. officials would tell us that that nothing’s changed, and that Murdoch feels as optimistic about the Web as ever — even if his sales staff think’s he’s set the bar way too high.  Maybe so, but it sure sounds to us as though he’s lowered the bar.

Update: Here’s Murdoch’s prepared comments for today, via the News Corp website:

While other competitors have entered the arena, none of our peers compare in terms of sheer numbers of users or, more importantly for stockholders, revenues. We should see the benefits of these improvements dramatically increasing overall Internet revenue to around $1 billion in the coming year.

And for contrast, an excerpt of his comments from his the August earnings call — again, Rupert’s reading from a prepared statement here — via Seeking Alpha.

Today on the back of its durability and success, we are forecasting that MySpace alone will generate in excess of $800 million in revenue in fiscal ’08. Overall, FIM in fiscal ’07 generated revenues of $550 million and a profit of $10 million, even after absorbing $80 million in retention and amortization costs. We would be surprised if FIM revenues this fiscal year do not exceed $1 billion with margins well above 20%.

Related: Murdoch Cuts MySpace 2008 Estimates
News Corp. Internet Unit Missed July, August Revs

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