For the company formerly known as Gannett before spinning off its newspaper division in 2015, the first three months of 2017 paint a familiar picture to those following the earnings reports of the nation’s biggest publicly traded broadcast TV companies.
TEGNA saw flat revenue in Q1, while its net income sagged.
The company’s overall revenue slipped 0.4%, to $778.4 million, largely due to its digital division—not its media division, which is comprised of its broadcast TV stations.
Digital revenue slumped by 1.7%, to $332.2 million.
Media revenue inched upward by 0.6%, to $446.3 million.
This set the tone for a quarter in which TEGNA played up its flat status. As company President/CEO Graciela Martore explained, “TEGNA generated revenue in the first quarter of 2017 comparable to the first quarter last year, despite a significantly lower level of political and Super Bowl spending, a softer advertising environment and one less day in the quarter.”
Like other broadcast TV companies, strong growth in retransmission revenue was a key income driver. For TEGNA, this jumped 24.2% in Q1, to $182.3 million.
Yet, it couldn’t overcome a slide in net income attributable to shareholders of $57.7 million (27 cents per diluted share), compared to $92.9 million (42 cents) in the year-ago period.
Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and severance costs, were $70.8 million (33 cents per share), down from $100 million (45 cents). This was in line with the average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.
Martore reiterated that TEGNA will spin off Cars.com in Q2.
Political dollars came in at $2.2 million in the just-completed quarter, compared to $15.7 million in Q1 2016.