Publishing revenue growth is still eluding many media companies, but the publishing arm at Meredith Corporation is not newspapers, but women-focused magazines – and it is pacing up for ad revenues in the current quarter after a small decline in the previous one. Meanwhile, the TV group is enjoying growth, even before you add in the political advertising windfall.
Meredith is not on a calendar year, so its July-September period was the first quarter of its fiscal year. Total revenues rose 4% from a year earlier to $344 million, with ad revenues up 7% to $206 million.
“We’re off to a great start in fiscal 2011, with first quarter profit growth of 40% [to 56 cents per share] driven by record demand for political advertising, as well as strong non-political advertising growth at our Local Media Group properties,” said Meredith CEO Steve Lacy.
Television, the Local Media Group, led the way with ad revenues up 27% to $69 million. Even if you remove the $12 million in net political advertising, TV core revenues were up 8%. In the call with Wall Street analysts, company officials said the non-political revenues were a bit below expectations only because political had soaked up so much of the avails.
Lacy said forecasting is still difficult in the current economy, but CFO Joe Ceryanec did provide some guidance for the current fiscal Q2 (October-December). “We expect total advertising revenues to increase in the low double digits. Local Media Group non-political advertising revenues are expected to increase in the low- to mid-single digits and we expect net political advertising revenues to range from $15-18 million. Now, depending on the strength of political advertising and its related impact on available advertising inventory, non-political advertising results may differ from our current expectations,” the CFO said. “National Media Group [magazine] advertising revenues are expected to increase in the low- to mid-single digits as well.”
Magazine ad revenues had fallen about $1 million in fiscal Q1 to $136 million. However, profits for the division were up slightly.