EVP-CFO Victoria Harker said: “We continue to see recovery in non-political advertising in many categories,” including auto services, health care, home improvement, entertainment, gambling, insurance, banking and finance, packaged goods and education.
Looking at the current quarter, CFO Naveen Chopra told analysts to expect streaming subscription revenue and streaming advertising revenue to accelerate from the first quarter.
“The Sunday NFC package has been the most watched NFL package for the past 16 years. Our NFC coverage is an important foundation for the Fox Network and strategically aligns with our local stations, where we own and operate the Fox affiliate in 14 of the 16 NFC markets,” Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch told analysts.
EVP-CFO Lucy Rutishauser: “If you adjust for the impact of the Super Bowl moving this year to CBS from Fox last year, core advertising results for the first quarter would have been up low-single-digits compared to a year ago,” she told analysts. President-CEO Chris Ripley added: “We’ve been very, very happy with what we’ve seen on [2Q] core advertising. It’s been a great bounce back for the economy overall.”
“Looking ahead, we’re encouraged by the overall acceleration in economic activity and the improved trajectory of ad spending across our footprint as market conditions continue to improve,” CEO Perry Sook told analysts this morning.
CEO Tom Harty: “Assuming no changes in trajectory from COVID or other macro factors,” in the current quarter, he expects “non-political spot advertising revenues to be up in the 40% range.”
Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh is bullish on 2Q prospects: “We expect healthy growth in distribution revenue to continue. We will have significantly more sporting events compared to last year, which should result in higher advertising revenue, but also a significant increase in sports-related programming and production costs.”
Brian Lawlor, president of local media, said: “Core advertising began to turn around almost immediately after Election Day. “In addition, sports betting has emerged as a material contributor to our travel and leisure category.”
Gray President-Co-CEO Pat LaPlatney told analysts today: “Our pacings, which are not necessarily a great predictor of future revenue, are still very encouraging because the gambling category is now pointing to a more than 250% increase over 2020.”
While Wednesday’s big presentation for investors was focused on Paramount+, Chairman Shari Redstone made it clear that ViacomCBS isn’t discounting its broadcast and cable businesses. “We’re about both linear and streaming,” she declared.
“Core broadcast and other advertising revenues were above our expectations for the quarter, as November improved to down low-single-digits percentages and December was relatively flat,” Sinclair President-CEO Chris Ripley told Wall Street analysts in the company’s quarterly conference call. He said that core improvement was likely due to pent-up demand after the record-breaking political season.
Fox Corp. Executive Chairman-CEO Lachlan Murdoch sees strong gains coming for sports betting — both as a business and as an ad category — and from the Tubi streaming business.
For the Local Media Group (TV and related) fiscal 2Q revenues were up 53% to $328.4 million. Political spot and digital revenues shot up 96% from the previous election cycle two years ago. Political spot hit $117.7 million, while non-political TV spot advertising was down 16% to $75.3 million.
Even without the expected boost from carrying Olympics coverage, Peacock remains well ahead of internal projections and hit 33 million signups this week. Fourth quarter broadcast revenues were down 12% to $2.78 billion, partially offset by double-digit increases in retransmission consent fees.
While the pandemic delivered a big hit to the company’s theme park and movie business in the just-reported quarter, TV broadcasting was a bright spot, with political advertising for the ABC O&Os and increased affiliate revenues (retrans and reverse comp) countering a drop in other advertising. CEO Bob Chapek was also bullish on his company’s streaming efforts.
Tegna has two stations in Atlanta and one in Macon, but until now Georgia hadn’t even been its hottest state for political spending. That has changed, with control of the Senate at stake. “We’re trying to size it now. We don’t have, frankly, a good answer, other than we know it will be very, very large,” Tegna CEO Dave Lougee said.
Local Media President Brian Lawlor: “The pool of political dollars nationwide is growing tremendously, and local broadcast is taking an even larger share.” The Scripps TV group benefitted from $96.4 million in political spending.
The rate of decline for total advertising dropped to only 6% in the third quarter from a 27% drop in the second quarter. This year’s upfront was unlike any other, but CEO Bob Bakish said he is satisfied with the outcome. “We were up low-single-digits on price, and we were very careful with volume, holding back inventory so that we had inventory to sell in scatter. And … the scatter market today is very robust.”
“We began the year predicting our political revenues would top our all-time record from 2018 of $234 million on a same-station basis,” CEO Hilton Howell said today. “Now, as we all sit and digest the ongoing election process, and the results of Tuesday’s election, it appears that our political revenues will significantly exceed $380 million.”
On the heels of reporting record results for the third quarter, fueled by even better-than-expected political ad sales, Nexstar Media Group Chairman-CEO Perry Sook told Wall Street analysts this morning that the good news is continuing even after Election Day. “Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, we continue to see month-over-month improvement in our core […]
The company is awaiting still more political advertising revenue from at least one Senate runoff election in Georgia. It also predicts digital ad revenues will exceed print revenues for its National Media Group for the first time ever.
Sinclair isn’t giving formal guidance for 2021 due to uncertainty about when COVID will cease to be a factor, but did provide some information on what to expect in the current quarter, as record-breaking political ad revenues move to the rear-view mirror. “Every month has picked up, which is encouraging,” said Robert Weisbord, president of local news and marketing services.
Television (Fox Network, O&Os and Tubi streaming) reported revenues down $6 million to $1.35 billion in the quarter ending in September. Affiliate revenues (retrans and payments from affiliate stations) rose 23% to $560 million, while advertising declined 15% to $670 million. However, that began to change toward the end of the quarter and CFO Steve Tomsic said “the strong advertising momentum at [Fox] News, our local television stations and Tubi have all carried forward into the first month of this current quarter.”
Broadcast television revenue increased 8.3%, driven by 66% growth in content licensing sales and continued growth in retransmission consent fees, partially offset by a decline in advertising. In addition, new streamer Peacock has been running well ahead of its targets, surpassing 22 million users during the third quarter.
In the company’s quarterly Q&A session with Wall Street analysts, Local Media Group President Patrick McCreery noted sequential month-over-month improvement throughout the pandemic. April TV ad revenues fell 49%, May was down 43% and June improved to a decline of 28%. Moving into the current quarter, July was down 25%.
In its second quarter earnings call with analysts, CEO Dave Lougee said that looking forward, the company will “benefit from a large number of unusual events that we would not normally see in the back half of the year that are rescheduled from the second quarter.”
Each month of the second quarter was sequentially better, so Local Media President Brian Lawler is optimistic: “We do believe, based on everything we’re seeing now, that August will be better than July, and September will be better than August in terms of year-to-year improvement, in terms of dollar growth,” he said.
“Their job was to focus on their responsibilities, their journalism, our communities and our clients — and it has paid off,” said Hilton Howell, Gray Television chairman-CEO, adding: “Our [second quarter] business slowed less than we feared and it recovered faster than we’d hoped.”
“The [second] quarter turned out better than we thought early. That was because we did see sequential improvement in each month of the quarter,” said President-CEO Bob Bakish in his conference call with Wall Street analysts Thursday morning.
The broadcast group tells analysts it expects third quarter broadcasting revenues to be up 6%-10% pro forma to $777 million-$805 million.
The company saw sequential month-over-month core advertising improvement from April to May, May to June — “and this trend is continuing in July,” according to CEO Perry Sook.
Improved operating income results for broadcasting and cable couldn’t offset the pandemic’s impact on theme parks, resorts and cruise ships.
Political is pacing more than 50% ahead of the equivalent period four years ago CEO Lachlan Murdoch tells analysts. Apart from political, COO John Nallen said it is “remarkable to see how quickly local advertising is coming back.”
“While the advertising market was hit hard, it is coming back more rapidly than we anticipated and the upfront is now in full-swing,” said Jeff Shell, CEO, NBCUniversal, in Comcast’s second quarter conference call today with Wall Street analysts.
EVP-CFO Lisa Knutson said ad pacings are improving sequentially month-over-month, with May pacing ahead of April and June pacing ahead of May. Brian Lawlor, president of local media, added that it is unusual for June to grow over May if advertising were normal.
“We are seeing improvement week-to-week,” CEO Dave Lougee said of ad sales trends. He declined to give a number, but said it is not as bad as the 50% drop in local mentioned in the Fox Corp. conference call.
While 2Q advertising is taking a hit, President-CEO Bob Bakish sees the third and fourth quarters improving. Starting June 11, CBS will resume live sports broadcasting as the PGA returns.
After reporting local advertising down 6% in the first quarter, with the COVID plunge hitting in March, Gray is not offering formal guidance for the current quarter. However, CFO Jim Ryan told analysts that as states begin to lift restrictions, business should improve.
CEO Lachlan Murdoch says that while some categories are down, others are pacing up — “so it’s a real mix.” Murdoch also noted that the local markets won’t recover at the same rate — it will be state-by-state based on how businesses reopen. “But we are beginning to see positive signs in the pacings going forward,” he said.
Analysts are assured that small- and medium-size businesses will return to television advertising as the economy reopens. Meanwhile, Sinclair’s sales reps are using this pause to demonstrate what services those businesses may be able to use to aid in reopening. In addition, auto dealers will now need to move their 2020 model inventory off their lots.