Gannett’s Q1 report shows that on a same-station basis, its broadcasting segment revenues were 19.6% higher than Q1 2013. A 6.5% percent increase in core revenues was driven by $41 million of advertising boosted by the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games on the 16 NBC stations the company owns or offers services to. When including revenue from the recently acquired Belo stations, Gannett’s Broadcasting Segment revenues were $382.3 million in the quarter, up 99.5%.
There was a 27% increase in EPS to $0.47 for Q1 compared to $0.37 in Q1 2013. This growth reflects the significant impact of the company’s transformative acquisition of Belo, as well as solid profitability in the Digital and Publishing Segments.
On a same basis, retransmission revenues were 66.4% higher in the quarter and totaled $87.5 million. Politically-related ad demand totaled $10.0 million compared to $1.9 million in Q1 2013. Pro forma digital revenues in the Broadcasting Segment were 22.9% higher in the quarter reflecting continued growth in digital marketing services.
Belo expects the increase in total television revenues for Q2 on a percentage basis to be in the nineties compared to Q2 2013. On a pro forma basis, the percentage increase in total television revenues in Q2 is projected to be up in the mid-teens compared to Q2 2013.
Politically related advertising demand totaled $10 million compared to $1.9 million in the first quarter of 2013.
Said Gracia Martore, Gannett CEO: “This was a terrific first quarter for Gannett, in which the fundamental changes we’ve been making to our business meaningfully impacted our top and bottom lines. An outstanding performance by our new broadcast stations fueled double-digit increases in both revenue and profitability in our Broadcast Segment and contributed to total company pro forma revenue growth and a robust level of free cash flow in the first quarter. Our Broadcast group achieved exceptional ratings, particularly throughout the Sochi Winter Games as Gannett stations took the top two spots in prime time and in every Olympic day-part among major market NBC stations. Our Publishing and Digital segments also performed well during the quarter, despite the impact a tough winter had on advertising demand in several markets. Additionally, our latest innovation in Publishing – our new USA TODAY content edition – has now launched in 34 publishing markets and continues to gain significant traction with subscribers.”