The increase to $440.7 million is credieted to an increase in retransmission revenues of $23.9 million, or 25%, an increase in carriage fee revenues of $8.1 million, or 24%, and an increase in net political advertising revenue of $7.7 million
Tribune Media today reported fourth quarter earnings results that included Television and Entertainment Segment revenue of $440.7 million in the first quarter of 2018 compared to $436.0 million in the first quarter of 2017, a 1% increase of $4.7 million.
The company said this was driven by an increase in retransmission revenues of $23.9 million, or 25%, an increase in carriage fee revenues of $8.1 million, or 24%, and an increase in net political advertising revenue of $7.7 million, partially offset by a $28.7 million, or 10%, decrease in net core advertising revenues and a $7.1 million decrease due to the company no longer recognizing barter revenues.
The decrease in net core advertising revenue was primarily due to a decline in market revenue along with a decrease in revenues associated with airing the Super Bowl on two NBC-affiliated stations in 2018 compared to 14 Fox affiliates in 2017 and the 2018 Winter Olympics, which negatively impacted advertising revenues for stations other than NBC affiliates.
Television and Entertainment operating profit was $211.9 million for the first quarter of 2018 compared to $20.0 million for the first quarter of 2017, an increase of $191.8 million.
Television and Entertainment adjusted EBITDA was $135.2 million for the first quarter of 2018 compared to $75.2 million in 1Q 2017, an increase of $60 million, or 80%, primarily due to higher retransmission revenues and carriage fee revenues and lower programming and promotion expense, partially offset by lower net core advertising revenues and barter/trade revenues
Television and Entertainment broadcast cash flow was $116.5 million for the first quarter of 2018 compared to $64.6 million in the first quarter of 2017, an increase of $52.0 million, or 80%.
The company as a whole reported consolidated operating revenues of $443.6 million compared to $439.9 million in the first quarter of 2017, representing an increase of $3.7 million, or 1%. The increase was primarily driven by higher retransmission revenues and carriage fee revenues and higher political advertising revenues, partially offset by lower core advertising revenues and barter/trade revenues.
Consolidated operating profit was $187.3 million for the first quarter of 2018 compared to an operating loss of $21.0 million for the first quarter of 2017, representing an increase of $208.3 million.
Peter Kern, Tribune Media’s CEO, said: “Tribune Media is off to a strong start in 2018 with first quarter revenues up one percent and consolidated Adjusted EBITDA more than doubling year-over-year. Our new strategy at WGN America, our sustained focus on overall expense management, and our very strong growth in retransmission and carriage fee revenues, are driving meaningful improvements in profitability across the company.
“These improvements more than offset the anticipated headwinds to core advertising due to the soft overall advertising environment and our limited exposure to Olympics and Super Bowl advertising. When adjusted for the substantial impact of core advertising dollars shifting into the Olympics and a challenging Super Bowl comparison to last year, we estimate that first quarter core advertising revenues were down in the low single digit percentage range year-over-year.
“As we continue to move toward closing our previously announced merger with Sinclair, the company maintains an aggressive focus on profitability. At WGN America, our new programming strategy has produced solid audience growth and made the network a significant contributor to consolidated adjusted EBITDA. Additionally, corporate expenses were down double-digits year-over-year.
“Finally, while we expect to generate the majority of our political advertising revenue in the second half of the year, the momentum of political spending we saw in the first quarter is very encouraging. As we move deeper into 2018, we are well positioned to execute on our strategy and remain committed to delivering value for our shareholders, advertisers and the communities we serve.”
Read the company’s report here.
Editor’s Note: The story’s original headline incorectly said revenue fell 1%.