Car advertising and Super Bowl spots drive the gain, aided by a 17% rise in retrans money.
Gannett Co. today announced earnings figures for the first quarter of 2012 that included television revenues of $170.9 million compared to $158.3 million in the first quarter a year ago, an increase of 7.9%.
Higher auto spending, advertising associated with the Super Bowl, and an increase of $3.8 million in politically related ad demand drove the increase.
Retransmission revenues were 17% higher compared to the first quarter last year and totaled $22.8 million, while television station digital revenues were 6.4% higher.
Total adjusted television revenues, defined to exclude the incremental impact of even year political ad demand, were up 5.6%.
Based on current trends, the company said it expects the percentage increase in total television revenues for the second quarter of 2012 to be in the high single digits compared to the second quarter of 2011.
Broadcasting revenues (which include its Captivate news and entertainment service delivered to office elevators) totaled $176.2 million in the quarter up 7.5% compared to $163.9 million in the first quarter last year reflecting primarily stronger advertising demand.
Broadcasting segment operating expenses totaled $103.6 million in the quarter, up 3.1% due primarily to investments in strategic initiatives of approximately $2 million and higher sales costs associated with higher revenue. Reported operating income was $72.6 million, an increase of 14.4%, while operating cash flow was up 12.4% to $79.7 million.
Gracia Martore, president-CEO, said: “Our first quarter results were impacted by spending on strategic investments and advertising softness, particularly during January’s industry-wide slowdown. Improving advertising activity in February and March, while encouraging, did not overcome the slow start to the year. Importantly, each of our businesses remained solidly profitable, and our Broadcasting and Digital segments delivered strong revenue growth of 8% and 7%, respectively. Digital revenue growth of 13% in our Publishing segment underscored the success we are achieving in establishing the robust content and advertising platforms that will power our renewed growth.”
Read the company’s report here.