“The monumental change away from the newspaper business will enable us to focus on platforms with strong growth potential including the appeal to younger demographics,” said George Mahoney, Media General’s chief operating officer. The 2012 revenue picture was bright, with this year’s contentious political campaign proving to be a boon, bringing in $64 million. The Olympics also provided a healthy boost as did a 75% increase in retrans revenue (about $37 million) and an 18% rise in digital revenue ($10 million).
While the company’s emphasis at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference was on the strides it’s making in digital media, broadcast TV is a strong part of the business. When 2012 goes into the books, Dave Lougee, president of Gannett Broadcasting, says his group will have an all-time record year, with revenues up by a mid-20s percentage. “Political will finish at $150 million, digital will be up in the low double-digits and retrans for the year will be up in the low-20s above last year for the full year,” he said.
Stephen Lacy, the company’s CEO, says “approximately 30% of the [digital] traffic we generate is coming from mobile and tablet devices.” The company has looked to take advantage of that audience by introducing a series of mobile-specific site apps.
Vincent Sadusky, LIN’s president-CEO, says his company has adopted a digital mindset and has gone from about 40 employees dedicated to digital full time in 2007 to close to 300 today. “We want to be able to exploit our content in ways that follow the way people are going about their days.”
The company is aggressive in introducing paid apps for access to content to both its TV stations and newspapers. “Most of our apps today are paid and we will continue to introduce more and more paid apps on the TV side,” Scripps President Rich Boehne told the UBS Global Media and Communications conference Tuesday.
CBS chief Leslie Moonves flipped the argument that Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt made yesterday when he said that he may drop pricey cable channels that generate hash-mark ratings. “That means for the channels that are getting viewers, he’s going to pay more,” Les Moonves told the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference Tuesday. “He should pay the most for the guy who’s the No. 1 network.”
Although the goals were set independently, David Zaslav says that his joint venture with Oprah Winfrey is growing fast enough that it doesn’t have to expand to 85 million homes — from 80 million now — to fulfill his prediction that it will break even in the second half of 2013.
The comments today from the Time Warner CEO at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference contrast with what was heard yesterday from cable operators. They say that consumers can’t afford to keep paying the rising prices for the basic bundle. Bewkes counters that if consumers had the freedom to just subscribe to the channels that they want “you’d end up having to pay more for less.” And for pay TV distributors “it is a growing pot. They have to decide who gets the money and who drives the value.”
Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Officer Glenn Britt threatened to drop networks with low ratings when their programming contracts expire to combat rising pay-television costs. Distribution on Time Warner Cable, the second-largest U.S. cable company, “is not a birthright,” Britt said Monday.
Top forecasters said today they expect modest ad-spending growth over the next few years. Global ad spending will pick up a little steam in the future, according to Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia. Spending will climb from 4.1% growth in 2013 for a total of $518 billion to 5.6% growth in 2015, reaching $574 billion.
NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker, who will be leaving the company when Comcast assumes control, accepted responsibility for NBC’s failures in primetime.
CBS senior research executive David Poltrack estimates the four broadcast networks will grow 5% in advertising revenue in 2011 — in part by some 20% or more higher scatter pricing. But not all networks will benefit.
CBS sees no great rush to put its shows on such new digital platforms as Google TV or Netflix. “People want our content. We’re going to be paid. We’re going to take our time making the right decision,” CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves said at the 38th annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference Tuesday.