The Local Media Group (TV stations) led the way for Meredith Corporation in its fiscal Q2 (October-December), while the National Media Group (magazines) faced a “challenging” ad market. Those trends are also continuing in the current quarter.
“Our Local Media Group delivered an industry-leading 9% gain in non-political advertising revenues during the second quarter of fiscal 2012,” said Meredith Chairman and CEO Steve Lacy. “While the advertising market remained challenging for our National Media Group, we’re seeing an improving trend as we look to early calendar 2012, particularly in the food and home advertising categories.”
As we look at our Local Media Group, fiscal 2012 second quarter operating profit was $27 million, compared to $39 million in the prior quarter. Again, we generated $21 million less in political advertising revenues in the second quarter of fiscal 2012. For an off-political year, our local media second quarter operating profit was the second-best in our company’s history, CFO Joe Ceryanec told analysts in the company’s conference call. “Expenses were down about 3%, which helped us achieve an EBITDA margin of 40%.”
The CFO said performance was strongest at the TV stations in the Atlanta, Hartford, Las Vegas and Portland markets. “Automotive advertising revenues increased 15%, on top of 17% growth in the prior-year period. Professional Services, the second-largest category, grew 19%, also on top of 17% growth in the year-ago period. Digital advertising revenues increased more than 50% as investments we’ve made to better monetize our online and mobile assets began to be realized,” Ceryanec added.
Including political, fiscal Q2 TV revenues were down from $97.5 million a year earlier to $84.4 million.
The larger National Media Group saw revenues decline to $244.3 million from $266.5 million a year earlier.
With two of the three monthly magazine cycles already closed for the current quarter, the National Media Group is pacing flat to up low single digits. The Local Media Group is doing better, pacing up in the mid single digits for non-political advertising.