The four-station television group is a tiny portion of the McGraw-Hill Companies, with $18.7 million in Q1 revenues within the company total of $1.2 billion. So, while company management had little to say about TV, the news was good.
Broadcast revenues were up 2.2% in Q1 to $18.7 million. CEO Terry McGraw noted that auto advertising was picking up, and political ad spending as well. In the quarterly press release, the company said “National and local time sales benefited from an increase in automobile advertising. Health care issues, propositions in California, the race for governor in California and a Senate seat in Colorado combined to produce an increase in political advertising in the first quarter.”
Noting that some other broadcasters had reported stronger Q1 growth, one analyst asked if there was anything holding McGraw-Hill back. CEO Terry McGraw said no, then added this:
“Except for obviously in terms of the network compensation, issues for us. We’ve dealt with that up front. And again, as you know, we’re paying ABC now, in reverse [comp]. There’s that effect, but I think it’s going to be a much improved year. Especially throughout the San Diego and Denver markets that some of these Azteca Spanish affiliations – they’re looking good. I think the political advertising one is the wildcard for this year, and we’re seeing political advertising in the first quarter. Usually you won’t see it until the end of the second quarter, but we’re already starting to see it,” McGraw said.
CFO Bob Bahash was asked about Q2 pacings. “Pacings are running much better than the first quarter,” he said, but declined to provide anything more specific.