November 11, 2013 Last Updated 8:43 am

Tribune Company revenue falls 5% in Q3, but operating profit up due to lower expenses

Newspaper revenue down 4 percent as print ads decline by $13 million

The Tribune Company announced Q3 earnings on Monday, reporting a 5 percent decline in total revenue, but higher operating profits due to a decrease in operating expenses.

But for the Trib the earnings report represents a miss.

“While we are pleased with the progress we have made on key strategic initiatives in the third quarter, our financial results in the period did not meet our expectations”, Peter Liguori, Tribune Company CEO said in rent earnings statement. “We are taking targeted actions to position our broadcasting stations for profitable growth and look forward to consummating the pending acquisition of Local TV. Our publishing business has continued to perform well despite ROP revenue declining. Importantly, we are developing compelling original programming content, improving the capabilities of our digital assets, expanding our efforts to increase non-ROP revenue and increasing the profitability and cash flows of our equity investments and real estate portfolio.”

The Tribune Company is still emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The earnings statement reveals the company’s reorganization costs were still $14 million in Q3 of this year, though that is down from $24 million in the same quarter off 2012. But the report (PDF) continues to be a jumble of paragraphs about litigations and reorganization news – hardly what you want your earnings statement to read like.

the Tribune Company still plans to spin off its newspapers – the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant, The Morning Call and Daily Press – into a new, independent company, Tribune Publishing Company. Rumors have died down a bit about a possible sale of the properties, though that is still very possible.

TribCo-Q3-chart

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