Realtor.com parent company Move’s Q4 and FY 2023 revenues slipped by double digits, with the company bringing in $602 million for the full year, according to an earnings call on Thursday. Despite its struggles, News Corp CEO is confident in the brand’s ability to stand toe-to-toe with its competitors.
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Market headwinds continued to batter Realtor.com parent company Move during the fourth quarter of the year, with shrinking lead generation and transaction volumes pushing revenues down 24 percent year over year to $146 million.
The company fared slightly better in its FY 2023 reporting, which saw revenues slide 15 percent year over year to $602 million.
News Corp CEO Robert Thomson didn’t highlight Move’s performance in his pre-call earnings statement. Instead, he pointed to the holding company’s other revenue segments as the key to its success after a series of difficult earnings quarters that saw the company lay off more than 1,000 employees.
News Corp ended 2023 with a Q4 revenue decline of 9 percent year over year to $2.43 billion and a FY 2023 revenue decline of 5 percent to $9.88 billion. The company logged a Q4 net loss of $32 million; however, it still ended the full year with a net income of $187 million. The Total Segment EBITDA also received a boost, landing at $341 million for the three months ending on June 30.
“News Corp’s Fiscal 2023 results highlighted the durability and depth of our revenue streams and the impact of stringent cost controls as we navigated challenging macro conditions, supply chain pressures and currency headwinds,” Thomson said. “We achieved full year Fiscal 2023 revenues of $9.9 billion and profits of over $1.4 billion — the second-highest profitability ever recorded by the Company.”
News Corp’s digital real estate services, which also include Australia-based REA Group, suffered across the board for Q4 and FY 2023.
The company’s total Q4 revenues for the segment decreased 17 percent year over year to $369 million, with the segment EBITDA also sliding 11 percent year over year to $108 million. The full-year performance for the segment wasn’t much better, with revenues declining 12 percent to $1.5 billion and segment EBITDA declining 20 percent to $457 million.
Real estate revenues, which account for roughly three-fourths of Move’s total revenue, also declined. The drop was more pronounced in the fourth quarter, with real estate revenues sliding 29 percent year over year. Meanwhile, real estate revenues for the full year declined 20 percent.
Revenues from ReadyConnect Concierge declined, with its share of total Move revenues dropping from 31 percent in Q4 2022 to 25 percent in Q4 2023. The average monthly unique users of Realtor.com’s web and mobile sites also took a dip — declining 20 percent year over year to 74 million.
Although Thomson didn’t highlight Realtor.com in his pre-call release, he used a few moments in the live earnings call Thursday to thank former Realtor.com CEO David Doctorow for his contributions to the company. Doctorow stepped down from his post in June, saying he left the company “with mixed emotions” as he aimed to pursue other opportunities.
“Move experienced much success under David Doctorow and broadened its offerings with the acquisitions of Opcity, UpNest and Avail,” he said. “We sincerely thank David for his positive contribution, which will resonate for years to come.”
Thomson then went on to introduce Realtor.com’s new CEO Damian Eales, who graced the Inman Connect Las Vegas stage for the first time on Tuesday. Eales shared his bold vision for Realtor.com, which has struggled with falling user counts, shrinking revenues as the real estate industry navigates a swift market shift and bruises from CoStar’s failed acquisition of the portal giant.
“One word: Grow,” he told the ICLV crowd of his primary goal. “And I think that if you go one level beneath that, how you grow a business like Realtor.com is you grow audience in the first instance; and then secondly, you do a better job to serve your customers. And that’s what we’re entirely focused on.”
News Corp seems to be hanging its hopes on Eales’s ability to bump Realtor.com back to the No.1 spot, with Thomson saying he believes the brand has what it takes to become News Corp’s top money maker once again and take on its nearest competitor, CoStar.
“Damian Eales brings vast digital experience and fiercely competitive spirit, and much knowledge of how to leverage News Corp’s powerful U.S. platforms, whether that be the New York Post or The Wall Street Journal or Barons to build the brand and expand market share,” he said. “Damien has just returned from Australia, where the Realtor.com team spent time at REA.”
“The creative collaboration between the two companies will certainly intensify,” he added. “Scale is crucial, and to put our scale in perspective, based on June comScore data, Realtor.com’s valuable and engaged audience is well over two times that of [CoStar’s] Homes.com.
“Not only do we have scale in residential sales, we believe that we can continue to monetize that audience successfully.”