Tegna Reports 6% 1Q Revenue Increase

The increase to $727 million is driven by continued growth in subscription revenue and record first quarter advertising and marketing services (“AMS”) revenues.

Tegna this morning released first quarter 2021 results that included total revenue of $727 million, up 6% year-over-year, driven by continued growth in subscription revenue and record first quarter advertising and marketing services (“AMS”) revenues.

1Q revenue grew 41% from the first quarter of 2019 driven by the same factors, as well as the impact of acquisitions.

  • Subscription revenue came in at $387 million, up 16% driven by rate increases.
  • First quarter AMS revenue of $323 million was up 9.4% year-over-year. Revenues of Premion, Tegna’s over-the-top advertising business, were up more than 50% year-over-year in the first quarter. The company says it now expects full-year Premion revenues to be up 45%-50% percent relative to 2020.

Net income was $113 million in the first quarter, up 30% from the year-ago period, and non-GAAP net income was $115 million.

Total company adjusted EBITDA was a first-quarter record of $231 million, an increase of 9 despite the impact of record political advertising revenues in the first quarter of 2020.

Dave Lougee, Tegna president-CEO, said: “Our final first quarter results, including projected second quarter and full-year 2021 guidance, reflect our favorable positioning for continued growth. Our record first quarter total revenue and advertising and marketing services (“AMS”) and subscription revenues, net income, and Adjusted EBITDA are indicative of Tegna’s sustained positive momentum.

“AMS revenues have continued their positive trajectory, with quarterly sequential improvement since the height of the pandemic and finishing the quarter up more than nine percent year-over-year. With the growing distribution of vaccines across the U.S., we are optimistic that the healthy advertising trends that we are seeing early in 2021 will build throughout the year. Subscriber trends have improved year-overyear to levels we have not seen since 2019, with the first quarter down less than five percent. Combined with the successful repricing of subscribers at leading Big Four rates, these positive trends support our expectation for full-year subscription revenue to grow mid-to-high teens percent, and for net subscription profits to grow in the mid-to-high twenties percent in 2021.


“Our recently increased full-year 2021 guidance underscores our conviction in our future cash flows, which we are deploying to create shareholder value. We are paying down a significant amount of debt, and expect to end 2021 with net leverage of low 3x. Additionally, closely following our Board’s authorization of our three-year, $300 million share repurchase program in December 2020, we announced a 36 percent increase in our dividend beginning in July. With a full set of tools at our disposal, we will continue to allocate capital to maximize shareholder value.

“Premion, our innovative over-the-top (“OTT”) advertising business, is accelerating ahead of our previous estimates for 2021 with revenues now estimated to grow 45 to 50 percent relative to 2020. Premion has a long runway for rapid growth as advertisers shift more dollars away from cable networks and digital to connected TV and OTT. Additionally, at last week’s IAB NewFronts, we announced we are expanding our industry-leading attribution capabilities to provide industry-specific performance and sales data for the automotive and tourism industries for campaigns placed with Tegna and Premion.

“On the content side of our business we reached a distribution agreement with Amazon in March for all of our stations to provide on-demand news through Amazon’s news app on Fire TV. Shows from Locked On, our recently acquired podcast network for local sports, will soon be available on select stations’ Roku and Amazon Fire TV OTT apps and YouTube properties. These actions have allowed us to further leverage positive streaming trends which broaden our reach and support future revenue growth.

“As our nation continues to confront acts of racial and social injustice, I want to thank our journalists across the country for their unwavering commitment to providing critical reporting on these topics, and for covering and facilitating important discussions about race and inequality that will help drive systemic change.”

Read the company’s report here.

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