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.
Despite the hemming and hawing over cord cutting, top operators added more than 1.2 million high-speed internet customers in 1Q, according to Leichtman Research Group.
Revenues at Sony’s film and TV division climbed to $9.32 billion from $8.87 billion in the previous fiscal year. Overall profit at Sony Corp. fell 36%.
As 1Q earnings come to a close, it’s clear that 2020 will no longer be a year of double-digit ad growth driven by record political spending. On the plus side, local TV has proved once more that the business is fundamentally sound and resilient. Also, Dennis Wharton has had enough.
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.
An unprecedented first quarter saw local TV’s ad sales go off a cliff with some broadcasters declining to give guidance for what’s ahead, but a bright spot was the double- and triple-digit ratings gains for local newscasts.
The increase to $322 million was aided by a jump in retrans revenue. When factoring in the acquisition of 23 stations last year, that local media revenue percent gain climbs to 58%.
Comscore registered a net loss of $13.2 million, or 19 cents a share, compared to a loss of $27.5 million, or 46 cents a share, a year ago.
The increase to $684 million is driven by strength in subscription and political revenues. Net income increased 17% and adjusted EBITDA rose 39%, benefiting from high-margin political revenues and recent acquisitions.
ViacomCBS reported dips in revenue and profit but its numbers beat expectations sending the stock up more than 10% in early trade. The company said revenue dipped 6% to $6.7 billion.
The increase to $515 million is due to higher retrans and political advertising money. It says the effects of the coronavirus has resulted in “reduction in demand for advertising across our television stations and digital platforms [and] a very significant reduction in demand in the market for the video production of sporting and other events by our production companies.”
Fox said revenue for its fiscal third quarter ending March 31 jumped 25% to $3.44 billion, beating estimates, as ad revenues swelled 44% on SuperBowl LIV. The company announced numbers after the closing bell Wednesday. Shares ended up more than 3% ahead of earnings.
Distribution and digital revenue push that total up 134%, while the company’s total revenue climbs 123% to $1.6 billion.
That represents a 74.2% jump from 1Q 2019, boosted by its purchase of Tribune Media. Looking ahead, CEO Perry Sook says: “While the coronavirus has presented serious challenges for the entire broadcast industry, Nexstar’s leading local broadcast platform is well positioned to withstand this environment due to several factors including continued growth of distribution revenue and what are projected to be record levels of political spending in 2020.”
The increase to $115.4 million is pegged to increases in both political advertising and retransmission consent revenues, but Graham notes that company-wide it was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and warned that the virus is expected to “negatively impact advertising revenue and the operating results at the television broadcasting division for the remainder of 2020.”
Disney managed to muscle out a fiscal second quarter with total revenue of $18 billion edging Wall Street estimates, but adjusted earnings per share fell far short of the bar, showing the toll of COVID-19. Adjusting for items, earnings came in at 60 cents a share. Analysts had been expecting 88 cents a share and revenue of $17.81 billion, according to Refinitiv. Disney has been among the hardest-hit entertainment companies during the pandemic.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the company will likely spend at least $4 billion during the second quarter in order to speed up delivery times and buy masks and other protection equipment for workers in its warehouses and Whole Foods supermarkets. Shares of Amazon.com Inc. fell about 5% in after-hours trading Thursday following the release of the earnings report.
Twitter looks like the latest social media company that will enjoy a stock boost, after it reported record quarterly user growth and topped analyst sales projections when it reported its 1Q financials on Thursday morning. The company, led by CEO Jack Dorsey, added 14 million monetizable daily active users during 1Q. Its sales of $807.6 million surpassed analyst estimates of $776 million.
Ad revenue in the first quarter dipped 2.2% for cable channels and was nearly unchanged for the broadcast channels, NBC and Telemundo. Comcast reported that it lost 409,000 cable TV customers, the biggest source of the company’s profits, as cord-cutting accelerated. That’s already more than half the 671,000 customers it lost in all of 2019. But it added 477,000 internet customers, which it said was its best quarterly number in more than a decade.
Facebook said it earned $4.9 billion, or $1.71 per share, in the January-March quarter. That’s more than double the $2.43, or 85 cents per share, it reported in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 18% to $17.74 billion from $15.08 billion.
Global sales fell 23% to 2 million vehicles in the first three months of the year, from 2.6 million in the year-earlier quarter, the company said Wednesday. Operating earnings excluding financial items such as interest and taxes shrank by 81% to 0.9 billion euros from 4.8 billion euros ($5.2 billion) a year earlier.
The automaker said Tuesday that its revenue from January through March fell nearly 16% to $31.3 billion as most of its factories were shut down for the final week of the quarter.
YouTube brought in $4.04 billion during the first quarter, marking an increase of 33% from the 1Q 2019, according to parent company Alphabet, which reported its first quarter earnings on Tuesday afternoon. Overall, YouTube accounted for nearly 10% of Alphabet’s $41.16 billion in 1Q sales. (Alphabet is also the parent company of Google.) YouTube’s $4.04 billion in 1Q sales falls a bit short of where it was at during the last quarter of 2019, when it reported $4.72 billion in revenue.
AT&T’s first quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street expectations and the company pulled its annual forecast on Wednesday, as the impact of the coronavirus outbreak overshadowed strong growth in monthly phone subscribers. It also lost 897,000 so-called premium TV subscribers, which includes its satellite TV provider DirecTV and a small number of U-Verse users as more consumers cut cords amid the pandemic.
Broadcasters have been successful in negotiating rate increases with MVPDs and virtual MVPDs for their “must-have” programming, so retrans continues to grow even as cord-cutting reduces subscriber numbers. And as they enjoyed the retrans boosts evening out some of the odd- and even-year political impact, broadcasters are embracing the prospect of record-breaking political hauls this year.
The increase to $330 million was aided by a jump in retrans revenue and higher core advertising stemming from its acquisition of 26 stations in 2019.
The major reason for the drop to $95.2 million was the company’s Ratings and Planning division, which recorded $66.8 million in revenue, compared to $74.8 million in the year-ago quarter that Comscore attributed to a decline in revenue from syndicated digital products and national TV. This was partially offset by local TV revenue, which increased 35% from the year-ago quarter.
The increase to $554 million is boosted by retrans gains and “significantly” higher-than-expected political ad money.
The decrease to $123.5 million is due to a $29.1 million decrease in political advertising revenue, slightly offset by an $800,000 increase in retransmission revenues.
Distribution and digital revenue push that total to $1.6 billion, while the company’s total revenue climbs 82% to $1.6 billion.
Aided by the acquisition of Tribune Media properties, it reported net revenue of $1.1 billion, with core advertising growing by 76%.
ViacomCBS saw revenue dip 2% and swung to red for the last three months of the year, which CEO Bob Bakish called a “transitional” fourth quarter that is the first for the company since it merged in December. The company said merger-related expenses and various operating items weighed on the numbers but are expected to be mitigated through the benefits of the combination.
Satellite TV provider Dish Network’s quarterly results beat Wall Street estimates on Wednesday, as it lost fewer pay TV subscribers. Dish has been struggling to retain subscribers for its pay-TV business, as customers shift to online streaming services including those from Netflix, Walt Disney Co. and Apple.
Roku beat Wall Street estimates for the fourth quarter, hitting new highs in active accounts and revenue per user, though an acquisition in the period created a loss of 13 cents per share. Total revenue hit $411.2 million, well ahead of the consensus estimate of $391.6 million and up 49% over the same quarter in 2018. The loss of 13 cents compared with earnings of 5 cents a share a year earlier.
The increase to $694 million was driven by acquisitions and continued growth in subscription revenue and advertising and marketing services, which more than offset the absence of $140 million of political revenue in the same period last year.
WWE stock has sunk sub-$40 per share in premarket trading Thursday, following the pro wrestling company’s release of 4Q and full-year 2019 financials. While WWE reported Thursday it beat fourth-quarter 2019 earnings estimates, the company missed on revenue expectations, despite reaching a record high thanks to its big SmackDown on Fox deal.
Twitter early Thursday posted $1.01 billion in fourth-quarter revenue, beating Wall Street estimates in a crucial quarter that’s being heavily scrutinized after some glitches in its advertising products resulted in disappointing sales growth in the quarter before.
Fox topped Wall Street’s earnings and revenue forecasts for the second quarter of fiscal 2020 on Wednesday. Broadcast saw a shakeup in the Nielsen rankings this autumn, with Fox grabbing its first fall TV ratings win in the all-important adults 18-49 demographic in a decade.
The company says it has 26.5 million Disney Plus subscribers as of Dec. 28, the end of its first fiscal quarter. The service launched in November, and Disney has positioned it as the future of the company as more people drop their cable subscriptions in favor of online video services like Netflix. The company’s broadcasting arm’s revenue rose 34% to $2.6 billion.
Tokyo-based Sony, which makes PlayStation video-game consoles, Bravia TVs and Spider-Man films, said the impact of the virus was unclear, but production and sales of its image sensor division were at risk. The company promised to release any new forecasts as soon as possible.