Journal Communications declares Q1 "solid"


Broadcasting revenues were down in Q1 for Journal Communications, but that was expected, and they were up if you exclude the 2010 Olympics impact. Publishing had another down quarter, so total revenues were off 3.5% to $83.9 million.

“Journal Communications reported a solid first quarter. While overall revenue was down in the first quarter compared to the first quarter of 2010, we were pleased to report both local and national advertising revenue growth in broadcast,” said CEO Steve Smith.

Including the Olympics impact, Q1 broadcasting revenues were down 1.2% to $42.1 million. But Smith noted that broadcasting was up 4.1% excluding the Olympics, which were a big revenue generator for the company’s NBC stations last year.

There were some revenue boosters this year as well, though, such as the Green Bay Packers winning the Super Bowl and plenty of unexpected political spending in Wisconsin as the Republican Governor battled with unions and the minority Democrats in the state legislature over budget cuts, which even spilled over to ad spending for, of all things, a state supreme court election.

TV revenues for Journal Broadcast Group were down 3.4% to $27.5 million, but up 4.6% excluding the Olympics. Political spending actually increased in the off-year to $800K from $600K. Local advertising was up 4.7%, led by automotive and casino advertising. Operating earnings for TV declined 26.9% to $3.8 million.

Radio revenues were up 3.4% to $14.6 million – and that’s up without any qualification. Radio operating earnings increased 18% to $2.6 million from $2.2 million a year ago.

Operating earnings for all of the broadcasting division declined 22.6% to $6 million.

The newspaper business was, as you would expect, again the drag – although company officials are optimistic of moving to revenue growth over year ago levels at some point this year. Publishing revenues were down 6.2% in Q1 to $41.8 million, with classified down double digits and retail down single digits. Interactive was the only gainer.

With operating earnings down 46.1% for publishing to a mere $1.8 million, total operating earnings for Journal Communications fell 35.8% in Q1 to $6 million. 
RBR-TVBR observation: Once again broadcasting revenues exceeded publishing revenues. Journal is becoming less and less a newspaper company and more and more a broadcasting company – which is probably good news for its shareholders.