Gray CEO Hilton Howell said today’s $2.7 billion purchase of Meredith’s stations fits with Gray’s strategy of adding stations in key states for heavy political ad spending.
It’s getting 17 stations in 12 markets and will spin off its Flint, Mich., ABC affiliate WJRT since it’s acquiring CBS affil WNEM there. With a combined net revenue exceeding $3.1 billion on a blended 2019-20 basis, Gray said its acquisition of Meredith’s television stations will transform Gray into the nation’s second largest television broadcaster.
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.”
Non-political spot advertising, retrans money and digital drove the station group total to $200.5 million.
Meredith Corp. is considering selling its television stations, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that would focus the media conglomerate on its magazine division. Meredith is working with a financial adviser on the potential divestiture, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public.
Facebook overwhelmingly is the most important social media platform for TV stations, say executives for CBS stations, E.W. Scripps, Nexstar, NBCU stations, Fox stations and Meredith. Broadcasters’ relationship with the platform once widely viewed as a “frenemy” continues to evolve, though the opacity of its all-important algorithm still frustrates. Note: This story is available to TVNewsCheck Premium members only. If you would like to upgrade your free TVNewsCheck membership to Premium now, you can visit your Member Home Page, available when you log in at the very top right corner of the site or in the Stay Connected Box that appears in the right column of virtually every page on the site. If you don’t see Member Home, you will need to click Log In or Subscribe.
Meredith’s decision to create two marketing hubs to handle the day-to-day marketing of all its TV stations across the country is underway. “It’s a juggling act,” concedes Danielle Ray, who leads the Phoenix group.
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.
All of Quincy and four Meredith stations are being prepped for sale, with second-round bids due to the sellers in the week of Jan. 18. Quincy could command as much as $1 billion. Entire Meredith group may be in play.
Here are the complete videos and story links for TVNewsCheck’s NewsTECHForum, featuring a keynote interview with veteran news producer David Bohrman and news and technology leaders from ABC News, Hearst, Tegna, NBCU Owned Television Stations, CBS Owned Stations, ABC Owned Stations, Gray Television, Graham Media, Sinclair, E.W. Scripps, Meredith, BBC, AJ+ and more.
Tech leaders at E.W. Scripps, Meredith and Hubbard Broadcasting as well as at tech vendor Avid say that remote production workflows are getting more refined, while vaccine promises also have them hopeful of a return to newsrooms. “The adrenaline that goes through a newsroom is hard to duplicate at home,” said Scripps CTO Ray Thurber at last week’s NewsTECHForum.
TV stations are still hiring during the pandemic, but HR executives say they’ve had to get creative in their largely virtual environments, turning to social media and marketing tools to fill key positions, particularly account executives, producers and executive producers.
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.
Political advertising and retrans money drove the total to $226 million. Non-political spot was down 26%.
After debuting in September in Meredith’s 12 markets, the daily half-hour newsmagazine is rolling out nationwide with distribution by Sony Pictures Television.
Meredith Broadcasting announced a new initiative called the Meredith Creative Group that will take over the marketing and creative services of its 17 TV stations across the country.
Meredith is laying off 130 people at its 17 stations as part of companywide “initiatives to address the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and position our business for continued growth.”
Meredith is proposing an amendment to its corporate charter that would allow the company to split its national media business and its local media business. In other words, it wants to split its magazine publishing business and its local TV business. Meredith owns 18 TV stations across 13 states. Splitting the two makes it easier to put the groups up for sale.
This fall, Meredith will launch People’s new syndicated TV show across all 12 of its markets. The program, People (the TV Show!), will be co-hosted by Kay Adams and Lawrence Jackson.
In the COVID-19 infected economy, every little bit helps for small business, and Meredith Corp. and its MNI Targeted Media division have launched an ad campaign pitching that a small investment in targeted advertising can yield pretty big results. The ad campaign uses the theme “I Believe.” Spots show a tire dealer who generated $12,000 in profit within a month of running a campaign with MNI.
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%.
Sequential improvement in digital and broadcast advertising couldn’t offset ad losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, sending Local Media revenue to $73.1 million for the company’s fiscal fourth quarter.
New jobs posted to TVNewsCheck’s Media Job Center include an opening for a vice president and general manager at a Meredith’s CBS affiliate in Michigan’s Great Lakes region.
Meredith Corp. is deploying Triveni Digital’s ATSC 3.0 solution to streamline the transition to NextGen TV in Portland, Ore. (DMA 22). Meredith’s KPDX (MNT) and KPTV (Fox) will use Triveni Digital’s ATSC 3.0 Broadcast Gateway scheduler, GuideBuilder XM ATSC 3.0 transport encoder, StreamScope XM ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 combo analyzer and StreamScope XM Verifier software application […]
The veteran showrunner will oversee all aspects of the new syndicated half hour, which will launch in Meredith’s 12 local television markets this fall.
Meredith promotes him from station manager at its Atlanta duopoly. At the same time WHNS News Director Kelly Boan is move up to station manager.
Local Media Group President Patrick McCreery gave analysts some detail on category performance. “The most impacted … was automotive. Our largest category now — as has been for the last year — is professional services. And that seems to be suffering less than some of the other categories.”
Increased political revenue couldn’t offset advertising losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, sending Local Media revenue to $99.7 million for the company’s fiscal third quarter.
Meredith Corp. is delaying the filing of its report for the quarter ended March 31. It told the SEC that the coronavirus pandemic resulted in “significant disruption of aspects of our business, including advertising cancellations and delays, reduced demand, loss or disruption of manufacturing and distribution capability, and quarantines and other government actions.” The quarterly report is now scheduled for this Thursday, May 14.
The media company, which originally thought it would avoid cuts, has changed its tune and is now implementing temporary salary cuts company-wide as well as a hiring freeze and employing less freelance employees.
The St. Louis CBS affiliate’s sales director is tapped by Meredith to succeed Mike Murphy who announced his retirement after a 30-year broadcasting career.
Las Vegas and Portland, Ore. will light up their NextGen TV markets in June from their initially-slated late April launch, but the broadcasters and coalition driving the new industry standard forward say major launches will still move ahead this year. The launches will coincide with the arrival in retail stores of the first 3.0-capable sets. Above, six LG sets will bear the NextGen TV logo, including the 55-, 65- and 77-inch class GX Gallery Series 4K Ultra HD models.
The new multi-year agreement covers all seven CBS affiliates owned by Meredith, which reach 7% of the U.S. audience serving more than 7.6 million television households.
Stations from Meredith, Nexstar, Sinclair and Tegna have applied for FCC approval to launch NextGen TV in Oregon.
NAB, legal counsel for Pearl TV and the general counsel of Meredith met last week with staff of the FCC Media Bureau to discuss the transition to NextGen TV and recommend a change in what broadcasters submit to the agency as part of their ATSC 3.0 license applications to allay concerns over possible contractual indemnification issues.