Meredith considers broadcast television to be part of its local media group, and it is saying that its aggressive program to strategically position its stations to prosper in the new millennium is yielding positive results.
“Our results represent successful execution of our strategy to (1) Maximize advertising revenues; (2) Develop non-traditional revenue streams, including digital, mobile and custom video production; and (3) Expand retransmission-related revenues,” said Meredith Local Media Group President Paul Karpowicz. “Our aggressive pursuit of this strategy has delivered strong results, including nearly three years of consecutive quarterly growth in non-political advertising revenues.”
Under the Meredith scheme, fiscal Q4 2012 is the one that just went into the books, and it was a good one for the local media group (LMG), which enjoyed a 42% gain in operating profit to $27M over Q4 2011, topping off a 9% gain in total revenue to $85M.
Non-political advertising revenue increased 6% to $69M, and the political category was good for $3M, well beyond the $1M pulled in Q4 2011. The company said automotive was doing well, and in fact, all major categories were up with the exception of telecommunications.
Highlights for the full year 2012 included:
* Non-political advertising revenues grew 6 percent to $271 million. The important automotive and professional services categories were particularly strong. Nine of Meredith’s 12 stations posted higher non-political advertising revenues, led by Las Vegas, Phoenix and Hartford.
* Digital advertising revenues increased more than 55 percent, boosted by enhancements to the station’s websites and the launch of new mobile apps.
* Other revenues grew more than 25 percent to $39 million. This was driven primarily by Meredith’s management of Peachtree-TV (WPCH-TV) in Atlanta, which began on March 28, 2011.
* Operating expenses declined 3 percent, driven primarily by savings in programming and video production costs.
“As we look ahead, we’ve focused on driving continued growth in non-political advertising revenues; maximizing political advertising revenues; and protecting and growing retransmission-related revenues,” Karpowicz said. “We will also continue to produce original programming and extend and monetize that content to digital and mobile platforms.”
Meredith believes it is well positioned to rake in its fair share of political spending, thanks to being well-represented in presidential swing states, as well as in states with hot senatorial and gubernatorial races.
In fact, it is expecting to take in between $25M-$30M in political by the end of the year, while non-political is expected to gain in the low-single-digit range.
Meredith’s full revenue result, including its extensive magazine holdings and other business interests, was a 6% gain to $375M.
Meredith is not looking to make any television acquisitions unless the right deal comes before it. It looked at both the McGraw Hill and Newport television groups when they were put on the block, but decided in both cases that it would rather move forward with what it has.