The Olympics on NBC and a big boost from political advertising pushed TV revenues up 3.4% in Q3 for Journal Communications. Radio didn’t fare as well, with revenues down 3.3%, and newspaper earnings took as big hit, as revenues declined 8.8%.
Doug Kiel, CEO of Journal Broadcast Group and President of the parent company, told analysts that Q4 is difficult to predict for TV.
“Our current pacing going into the month we’re in right now in the 4th quarter is actually quite good. That’s because of political and issue advertising levels in several of our markets, led by, of course, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Green Bay and even Tucson, where we have a good congressional race – and some others. But the picture is really cloudier after election day,” Kiel said. He had noted that bookings for non-political business have been slower and that there have also been cancellations.
For Q4, Journal is expecting TV revenues to be down in the mid-single-digit range, including political.
Q3 saw TV revenues rise 3.4% to $32.3 million, including $3.2 million from political (up from $100K) and $2.3 million from the Olympics. Excluding a non-cash impairment for the value of four TV licenses, TV operating earnings rose 18.8% to $4.0 million.
Radio revenues declined 3.3% to $21.7 million and operating income excluding a non-cash impairment fell 8.5% to $5.8 million. Publishing revenues were off 8.8% to $59.4 million, with weakness reported across all ad categories. Operating earnings for the publishing division plunged 87.7% to $1.2 million. Excluding a $3.7 million charge for workplace reduction, that drop was 48.4%.