Record fiscal results.
That’s the front-and-center takeaway that Meredith Corp. provided to shareholders on Thursday, as it swung to net income of $43.4 million (95 cents per diluted share), from a net loss of $90.5 million (-$2.03 per share), in its final quarter of fiscal 2017.
Adjusted earnings came in at $1.07 per share, however, compared to $1.08 in Q4 2016.
Overall revenue clocked in at $445.4 million for Q4, a gain from $435.78 million a year ago.
For the full fiscal year of 2017, Meredith saw its total revenues climb to $1.71 billion, from $1.65 billion, while net earnings grew to $188.93 million ($4.16 per diluted share), from $33.94 million (75 cents) in fiscal 2016.
“We delivered record revenue and profit in fiscal 2017 as we continue to aggressively execute our multi-platform growth strategies, including rapid expansion of our highly profitable digital activities,” Meredith Chairman/CEO Stephen M. Lacy said in prepared comments. “Additionally, we delivered strong cash flow and higher profit margins. This enabled us to continue successful execution of our Total Shareholder Return strategy.”
Meredith President/COO Tom Harty added that the company expanded its audience across media platforms and launched new products that strengthen its competitive position with Millennial consumers and the advertisers that wish to reach them.
“We continued to deliver double-digit gains in digital advertising revenue, which offset print declines on a comparable basis,” Harty said.
Political advertising for Q4 came in at $63 million (85 cents per share). An increase in net retransmission revenue was also a key factor for fiscal 2016, reflected in Meredith’s Local Media Group results.
The Local Media Group includes Meredith’s 17 O&O TV stations, and Q4 local media revenue increased from the same period in 2016. That’s because political advertising comps are favorable, with political coming in for Q4 2017 at $4.41 million, off from $4.51 million in the year-ago period. Overall local media revenues were $445.4 million, a gain from $435.8 million.
Retransmission fees are bundled into “other revenues” by Meredith, and this category saw Q4 2017 results of $56.9 million — up from $46.4 million in the year-ago period.
Looking ahead to fiscal 2018, Meredith expects full-year EPS to come in between $3.20 to $3.50. The company’s National Media Group, which is comprised largely of female-targeted lifestyle brands such as Better Homes & Gardens, Allrecipes, Parents and Shape, is expected to see flat to slightly up revenue in fiscal ’18. The Local Media Group, however, is forecast to see flat to slightly lower revenue in the fiscal year.
For fiscal Q1 2018, Meredith expects EPS to range from $0.60 to $0.65. Meredith warns that it will be cycling against $16 million (or $0.22 per share) in political advertising revenues recorded in the prior-year period.