Tribune 4Q TV-Entertainment Rev Climbs 19%
Tribune Media today reported fourth quarter 2018 earnings results that included Television and Entertainment Segment revenue of $576.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to $486.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of $90.9 million, or 19%. Excluding barter revenues in the fourth quarter of 2017, revenues increased $97.8 million, or 20%.
The company said this was driven by an $89.2 million increase in political advertising revenue to $99.8 million; a 13% increase in retransmission and carriage fee revenues to $158.3 million, partially offset by a decrease in core advertising revenue of $10.5 million, or 4%, to $286.9 million.
Television and Entertainment operating profit was for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $184.4 million compared to $127.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of $57.1 million, or 45%. The increase was primarily due to a $90.9 million increase in revenues, as described above, partially offset by increases in programming expense, compensation expense and other expenses.
The increase in programming expense was primarily due to an increase in network affiliate fees mainly due to the renewal of network affiliation agreements in eight markets with Fox Broadcasting Co. during the third quarter of 2018, partially offset by the absence of barter expense due to the new revenue guidance adopted in 2018.
Television and Entertainment adjusted EBITDA was was $250.4 million compared to $183.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of $67.2 million, or 37%, primarily due to higher political advertising revenues, retransmission revenues and carriage fee revenues, partially offset by lower core advertising revenues and higher expenses, as described above.
Television and Entertainment broadcast cash flow was $218.6 million as compared to $162.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of $55.7 million, or 34%. Television and Entertainment Broadcast Cash Flow for the full year 2018 was $665.8 million as compared to $484.6 million for the full year 2017, an increase of $181.3 million, or 37%.
The company as a whole reported consolidated operating revenues increased 18% to $578.7 million for the fourth quarter. Consolidated operating profit was $166 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to $123.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2017
For the full year, consolidated operating revenues increased 9% to $2,009.7 million, while consolidated operating profit was $488.4 million for the full year compared to $85.7 million for 2017.
Peter Kern, Tribune Media’s CEO, said: “2018 was an outstanding year for Tribune Media. We reported record consolidated revenue and Adjusted EBITDA for both the fourth quarter and full year 2018, powered by exceptionally strong political advertising revenues, significant growth in retransmission and carriage fee revenues, and a meaningful contribution to our operating results from our cable network, WGN America.
“Despite substantial political displacement, core advertising remained solid, delivering positive year-over-year growth from Election Day to the end of the year – a trend we expect to continue in the first quarter of 2019. In addition, our focus on containing costs across the company drove 2018 consolidated expenses down despite higher network affiliation fees.
“Tribune Media also made progress on several strategic fronts in 2018,” Kern added. “We continued maximizing the monetization of our real estate portfolio, reached long-term agreements with several cable and satellite providers, and, most importantly, announced our agreement to be acquired by Nexstar Media Group at a price that creates significant value for our shareholders. We continue working closely with Nexstar to gain regulatory approval of the transaction and look forward to its anticipated closing later this year.”
Read the company’s report here.