Tribune Company reported that it posted a net loss from continuing operations of $124 million in Q3, compared to profits of $84 million a year ago. Television revenues declined 8.3%, while radio/entertainment revenues gained 1%. Publishing revenues plunged 13%.
“We are operating in an exceptionally difficult financial and economic environment,” said CEO Sam Zell. “The newspaper industry continues to see extraordinary declines in ad revenues, and Tribune is no exception. But, we continue to aggressively pursue our operating strategy, and to tightly manage the factors that are within our control. Internally, we have established momentum on developing new initiatives and our culture now reflects that focus and mindset."
Tribune did not provide any guidance on Q4 and said management will schedule a conference call with Wall Street analysts before the end of the year to discuss the Q3 results.
For the entire Broadcasting and Entertainment division, Q3 revenues declined 5.6% to $383.4 million and operating cash flow was down 33.3% to $87 million.
Television revenues were off 8.3% to $264.4 million, which was attributed to soft ad demand and lower cable copyright royalties, “partially offset by station revenue share gains in most markets.” TV cash flow declined 34.4% to $64.4 million.
Radio/entertainment revenues were up 1% to $118.9 million, but operating cash flow decreased 29.9 million to $22.6 million due to higher player compensation at the Chicago Cubs and two fewer home games than in the same quarter a year earlier.
Publishing revenues plunged 13.1% to $653.6 million, with advertising revenues down 19% — including a 10% drop in retail, 21% in national, 30% in classifieds and 7% in interactive. Operating cash flow for the publishing division skidded 91% to $13.3 million from $148.3 million a year earlier.
RBR/TVBR observation: How will Sam Zell and Randy Michaels fix the newspaper business? Can anyone? It has to be shocking that the relatively small radio/entertainment segment of Tribune Company is now producing more cash flow than the giant newspaper operations.