The multimedia operations of Journal Communications could not have painted a more accurate confirmation of the general consensus of the American media in Q3 2012. Television soared, radio was flat and print continued to decline.
Political was the driver for the company, producing a 25% gain in broadcast revenue which in turn drove an overall gain of 11% for the company. Publishing was the drag oni the bottom line, posting a 4% decline.
Television revenue soared 39.5% from $27.9M to $38.9M. The increase in revenue exclusing political and the Olympics was still a respectable 6.1%. The company attributed $8.6M to political/issue spending and $2.7M to the Olympics.
Local was down 3%, which the company blamed on losses in restaurant and home product categories, and also on advertising displaced by the flood of political. But national was up 18.2%, fueled largely by automotive and media spending.
Radio had a top-line gain of 4.4% to $19.9M in revenue, but that was realized by the simple addition of newly-acquired stations in Tulsa OK which were added during the quarter. On a same station basis, results were slightly better than flat at 0.8%, based on a 1.8% gain in local and a 2.1% decline in national spending.
Political income was not only negligible, it was down from 2011, decreasing from $400K to $300K.
Operating profit would have been up 6.5%, but a building impairment charge and expenses associated with the Tulsa acquisition resulted in a decrease of 26.6% from $4.1M to $3M.
Publishing suffered a 4.1% revenue loss from $40.9M to $39.2M, which Journal blamed on erosion in the classified and retail advertising categories. It was able to report in increase in circulation income. Operating income was down 20.8% from $2.8M to $2.2M. Daily newspaper income was down 2.5% from $34.7M to $33.9M.
RBR-TVBR observation: They say that location is everything, and Journal is well situated for political this year.
It has its headquarters beneficially located in Milwaukee, the largest market in a state where recall elections have joined the regularly-scheduled variety, bringing with them additional opportunities to spend money in the political category and also drawing cash in from out-of-state.