Top line revenue for multimedia Journal Communications was down a scant 0.1% during the third quarter of 2013, an impressive result given the loss of more than $11M in political and Olympics revenue. The group also overcame an eight-week retrans negotiation impasse with Time Warner Cable.
The total income from political and Olympics in Q3 2012 wasn’t all that much more than $11M – very little of the $11.6M total was replaced as the categories combined for only $400K worth of business this time around. The overall result was $97.7M in revenue. Take out the two categories and results from Journal’s NashvilleNewsChannel 5 and the group grew revenue by 5%.
The group’s newspaper wing enjoyed a 4.8% gain in advertising, and overall publishing revenue was up by 2.3%. Radio was up 4% and television was up 2%, comprising a 3% overall gain in broadcast revenue.
Operating income fell by almost 30% to $9.5M, and Journal pegged the blame on the loss of political and Olympics revenue.
Chairman/CEO Steven J. Smith commented on the results:
“Journal Communications had a solid third quarter, driven by continued improving advertising revenue trends in publishing, as well as revenue gains in our broadcast group,” he said. “Total revenue of $97.7 million was essentially flat compared to 2012 which had record political and Olympic spending.”
Smith continued, “Within the broadcast group, revenue was up 3%, with television up 2% and radio up nearly 4%. Revenue from NewsChannel 5 in Nashville helped us replace the political and Olympic advertising dollars we saw during the third quarter of last year.”
Addressing the TWC issue, Smith said, “Although we were challenged by a protracted retransmission consent agreement negotiation with Time Warner Cable, which took our television stations off of their system in four of our markets for eight weeks, we are pleased with the result of the negotiation.”
Finally, Smith noted the company’s excellent results in the generally troubled print business: “On the publishing side of the business, we’re pleased to report that advertising revenue was up almost 5% year over year at the daily newspaper. A continued focus on advertising sales initiatives, along with ongoing efforts to control expenses, contributed to a 52% increase in operating earnings for the daily newspaper.”