International media mammoth News Corporation erased the red ink from its numbers during the first quarter of its fiscal year ending June 30 2003.

In New York Tuesday chairman/ceo Rupert Murdoch unveiled a 51% increase in operating income to $548 million (€550.36m; £351.96m), while net profits almost doubled to $162 million, with margins boosted by cost-cutting.

According to Murdoch, the results “resoundingly” confirm the company’s strength. Revenues rose 12% to $3.8 billion and net profits almost doubled to $162 million. But bucking the upward trend, operating profit in filmed entertainment fell from $122m to $100m.

Last year the company – the globe’s fifth largest media organization, headquartered in New York but founded in Australia – posted the largest corporate loss ever recorded in that country.

In that [fiscal] year’s final quarter, NewsCorp reported a “significant improvement” which, translated from NewsCorp-speak, equated to a loss of $1.71 billion arising from its writedown of a controlling stake in Gemstar-TV Guide International.

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff