Five takeaways from newsrooms that are starting to re-invent local TV journalism.
Tegna President-CEO Dave Lougee says he will continue to look for stations that meet his performance and market criteria to the extent the FCC ownership limits allow. He also addresses the advantages of scale, automated spot buying, retrans threats, his decision to take national sales in-house, regulation, the weakness of auto spot, the strength of political spot and his hope for ATSC 3.0.
According to a statement released by the station group, Apollo has proposed first acquiring Tegna and later merging it with Cox Media Group. Apollo struck a deal to acquire Cox in February, but that deal has not yet closed.
The $535 million deal for WTHR Indianapolis and WBNS-AM-FM-TV Columbus, Ohio, closes.
CEO Dave Lougee said dropping Cox Reps to go in-house will increase automation of national spot sales and reduce the number of points of contact that the agencies have to deal with. “The response from the agencies to what we have announced has been tremendous,” he said. And he told analysts that retransmission consent revenues should account for about half of total revenues beginning in the 2020 cycle and continue to grow thereafter.
The increase to $537 million is powered by subscription revenues and an improvement in advertising and marketing services.
The Dispatch Broadcast Group executive will make the move once the sale of its stations to Tegna closes. He will be succeeded as president-GM of WTHR Indianapolis by Michael Brouder.
“This is a strategic change in how we go to market, and is aimed at taking advantage of our scale to deepen our relationships with national clients by embracing automation, and focusing our talented marketing executives on solutions that drive client results,” the station group said in a statement.
The dividend is payable on Oct. 1, 2019 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Sept. 6. “TEGNA’s strategic initiatives, operational excellence and financial discipline continue to deliver stable and growing free cash flow and value for our shareholders,” said Victoria Harker, EVP and CFO.
Broadcasters including Scripps, Tegna, CBS, Sinclair, Ion and Gray have been laying bigger bets in the multicasting business, acquiring some of the more popular diginets and partnering to develop new ones in a market showing signs of further expansion. CBS’s new diginet DABL, for instance, is bringing back the classic lifestyle programming of Martha Stewart and others in the fall.