News International has its UK operating income cut by half

The tabloid price-cutting war has led to a 50 per cent fall in operating income for News International's UK newspaper group, across the first three months of its financial year.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation published results for the three months to the end of September that show total profits doubling but its UK newspaper division down on last year because of cover price cuts at The Sun.

News Corporation said that higher advertising revenues across its UK titles, especially at The Sun, were not enough to offset circulation revenue declines following the price cuts. A statement said: "Revenue gains from strengthened advertising in the company's major newspaper markets were more than offset by circulation revenue declines in the UK as a result of The Sun's discounted pricing to match the competition."

News International's operating income across all markets fell by 23 per cent to $36.5 million. As well as The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and News of the World in the UK, it also owns the New York Post and The Australian.

The Sun lost revenue after it cut its price to 20p nationwide and 10p in London and the South East in response to aggressive pricing from the Daily Mirror.

News Corporation's newspaper division reported a total first quarter operating income of $57 million, down 23 per cent on the same period last year. Total group revenues increased 12 per cent to $3.8 billion with profit up more than 50 per cent to $162 million.