It was a flat fiscal Q3 for Emmis’ radio net revenue, moving from $42.6 million to $42.5 million — according to Miller Kaplan.
However, this excludes barter and syndication revenue, and when factoring that in … Emmis radio revenue was off 1.8% in markets where overall radio revenue climbed 2.5%.
That’s the key takeaway from the Indianapolis-based media company’s latest earnings report, which shows diluted net income available to common shareholders increasing to $17.68 million ($1.43 per diluted share), from $5.5 million (47 cents).
Emmis’ overall Q3 operating income rose to $23.8 million, from $11.6 million in Q3 2016, but this is the result of the sale by Emmis of its Texas Monthly publication. The sale closed during fiscal Q3 2017.
Now comes the sale of all other magazines, with the exception of Indianapolis Monthly.
Meanwhile, Emmis is looking for a buyer of its WLIB-AM 1190 in New York.
The sale of Emmis’ Terre Haute, Ind., is on schedule to close at the end of January, and hopes to close additional asset sales before the end of Emmis’ fiscal 2017, in February.
“Emmis Radio is not accustomed to underperforming its markets,” Emmis Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan said in prepared comments released early Thursday, ahead of a 9 a.m. Eastern conference call with financial analysts. “I was disappointed in our performance, but remain hopeful that recent ratings gains in Los Angeles and Austin, coupled with continued stellar performance in St. Louis, will lead to better performance in fiscal 2018.”
OVERALL NET REVENUE DOWN, DESPITE INCOME JUMP
As Emmis reports in its 10-K quarterly filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, net revenue in fiscal Q3 dipped to $56.29 million, from $59.61 million.
That’s a disappointment, as overall operating expenses fell to $32.46 million, from just under $48 million. Operating income climbed to $23.84 million, from $11.62 million in fiscal Q3 2016.
Consolidated net income grew to $18.26 million, to $5.97 million.
Emmis notes that its local net revenue of $31.64 million comprise 56.2% of its total net revenue — statistically flat from fiscal Q3 2016.
A PLUG FOR NEXTRADIO
According to Smulyan, “The general sluggishness in the radio industry makes the need for NextRadio all the more important.”
NextRadio is the Android-compatible smartphone app that activates an FM chip in the device’s head set, allowing for the consumption of live local radio stations. Smulyan says that NextRadio has surpassed 10 million downloads.
An agreement reached with Sprint will keep NextRadio pre-loaded on all of their Android-powered devices.
All iOs-powered devices are still without NextRadio; Smulyan has told RBR + TVBR in previous interviews that he is working diligently with Apple on getting NextRadio on every iPhone.
Meanwhile, Emmis-owned Digonex — a “dynamic pricing service” that Emmis began operating in June 2014, has been integrating with several ticketing platforms, helping to accelerate client adoption, the company reports.
It says booked business heading into calendar year 2017 is nearly triple that of calendar 2016.
HOW MUCH DID SMULYAN’S PRIVATIZATION PITCH COST?
On Oct. 14, 2016, individuals led by Smulyan who on Aug. 18 offered a privatization proposal for Emmis that involved the acquisition of all outstanding EMMS shares at $4.10 per share agreed to not extend the offer, which had come under scrutiny by a special committee of disintered Board of Directors Susan Bayh and Peter Lund.
Emmis reveals in its Q3 2017 10-K report that through Nov. 30, 2016, the company incurred $0.9 million of costs associated with the proposal, which are included in corporate expenses, excluding depreciation and amortization expense in the accompanying condensed consolidated statements of operations.