Financial and operating results drive upgraded performance outlook from financial ratings agencies. It extends Chairman-CEO Brandon Burgess’ contract and he says the company is looking to expand original content, large-market station holdings and wants to innovate with its inventory of spectrum.
Ion Media today updated its financial stakeholders on a number of issues: its long-term loans, the employment contract of its CEO Brandon Burgess and its expansion plans.
The updates on current year financials and strategic outlook coincide with the privately-held media company celebrating the 10-year anniversary since its turnaround.
The company highlighted its performance in its three core focus areas — revenue, ratings and reach:
- Revenue — “Third quarter 2017 marked the company’s 32nd consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue growth.”
- Ratings — “Ion Television now ranks sixth in 2017-18 season-to-date audience delivery among U.S. cable networks, and plans to add more high-quality content to its schedule in 1Q 2018.”
- Reach — “Rising U.S. over-the-air broadcast TV homes (up 41% in the last five years) drive Ion’s organic household growth. The network’s popular content and consumer-friendly pricing garners support from multichannel and broadcast affiliates. New affiliate launches and TV station acquisitions added more than 3 million households in 2017.”
- Corporate — “The rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s affirmed the company’s ‘B+’ corporate credit rating with a positive outlook.”
Ion Media also reported that Brandon Burgess has extended his role as chairman and CEO of the company through 2019.
“We are pleased with the tremendous operational and financial progress since implementing our turnaround plan 10 years ago,” said Burgess. “It’s an exciting time for Ion. We are expanding on the momentum of our consumer and customer-friendly television strategy.”
He outlined the company’s strategic expansion focus in what he called five core areas:
- Content Expansion — “Build upon Ion’s proven content library curation track record, focusing on ‘A’-quality syndicated and original shows.”
- Station Expansion — “Opportunistically acquire independent TV stations in large markets.”
- Network Expansion — “Build additional networks, capitalizing on core skills acquired in building Ion Television.”
- Platform Innovation — “Extend Ion’s suite of networks to new platforms, including new MVPD content packages, as well as new consumer-friendly bundles and offerings.”
- Spectrum Innovation — “Capitalize on Ion’s post-auction position as the largest holder of full-power UHF TV broadcast spectrum.”