The company attributes the growth to contributions from recent acquisitions (KMOV St. Louis and KTVK Phoenix), “strong” digital sales and the surge in political advertising. But core (non-political) spot revenue on a same-station basis dropped 3%.
Meredith Corp.’s Local Media Group of 15 television stations generated $125 million in total revenue in its first quarter of fiscal 2015, up 39% from the same period a year ago. Spot revenue was up 43% to a record $93 million.
The company said growth was driven by:
- Political advertising revenues of $13 million. In addition to contributions from newly acquired KMOV and KTVK, KPHO (Phoenix) and WFSB (Hartford, Conn.) generated significant political dollars.
- Non-political advertising revenues grew 24% to $80 million, benefiting from the recent acquisitions and strong digital advertising revenue performance. Excluding recent acquisitions, non-political advertising revenues declined 3%, “as expected during a political advertising cycle,” the company said.
- Other revenues and operating expenses both increased, due primarily to growth in retransmission revenues from cable and satellite television operators and higher programming fees paid to affiliated networks, along with contributions from KMOV and KTVK. A majority of Meredith’s retransmission agreements with cable and satellite operators are scheduled for renegotiation in the next 24 months. Meanwhile, almost all of Meredith’s network affiliation agreements are in place into fiscal 2017 and beyond.
Local Media Group operating profit in the quarter strengthened, driven by record fiscal first quarter digital advertising and brand licensing revenues; improved performance by Meredith Xcelerated Marketing; and a 9% decrease in operating expenses.
“Fiscal 2015 is off to a solid start,”said Meredith Chairman-CEO Stephen M. Lacy. “We’re encouraged by improving advertising trends, particularly in the digital sector, and the strong performance of our recent acquisitions. In addition, our brands continue to resonate extremely well with consumers across our media platforms and at retail.”
The company as a whole reported earnings per share increased 23% to $0.65, compared to $0.53 in the prior-year period. Revenues increased 4% to $371 million, including 10% growth in advertising revenues.
Read the company’s report here.