While ad revenue falls from $78 million to $57 million in the company’s fiscal third quarter, it says that number was higher than it predicted in late January. Also, retrans fees more than doubled from a year ago.
Meredith Corp. today reported fiscal 2009 third quarter broadcasting operating profit was $1.3 million and revenues were $57 million. This compares to operating profit of $19 million and revenues of $78 million in the prior year period.
Broadcasting advertising revenues were down 31 percent in the third quarter, led by a significant decline in automotive. However, advertising revenues improved from when Meredith provided its outlook in late January.
Meredith said it continued to emphasize other new revenue streams including retransmission fees and Meredith Video Solutions, its in-house video production unit. Revenues from retransmission agreements more than doubled in the fiscal third quarter compared to the year-ago period. Meredith has successfully completed new retransmission agreements with six of seven major cable operators in its markets.
Broadcasting operating costs declined 5 percent in the third quarter, and 1 percent for the first nine months of fiscal 2009, compared to the respective prior-year periods.
To further reduce expenses and improve efficiencies, Meredith is implementing a plan to centralize certain functions — including master control, traffic and research — across its television stations.
To enhance local market performance, Meredith continues to focus on growing and monetizing viewership ratings. “We were pleased to see most of our television stations post stronger ratings during the recently completed March sweeps,” said Meredith President-CEO Stephen M. Lacy. “These ratings gains are key to commanding higher revenues for advertising spots in the future.”