May 20, 2014 Last Updated 9:24 am

Tribune Company reports lower earnings as company prepares to spin off its newspaper division

The Tribune Company reported Q1 earnings this morning, reporting higher revenue due to its acquisition of Local TV which added $144.8 million to its results. Net income fell, however, as expenses grew and its publishing arm continued to show declines in advertising.

Revenues in Q1 of 2014 were $852.2 million, compared to $705.0 million in the first quarter of 2013, an increase of $147.2 million, or 21 percent – almost all of it attributable to its acquisition.

Tribune Company’s newspapers, however, saw total revenue fall 2.6 percent. Advertising revenue fell 7.5 percent (interestingly, classified ad revenue seems to have hit the bottom as it was basically flat in the quarter). Circulation revenue grew slightly to $107.3 million, and now represents just under a quarter of all revenue coming in.

“In the first quarter of 2014 we demonstrated early signs of the strength of our new broadcast scale. As a consolidated business with the Local TV stations, revenues generated by retransmission consent fees hit an all-time high for the Company—growing 88% compared to last year,” Peter Liguori, Tribune Company President and CEO said in the earnings statement.

“Additionally, our newspapers continued to deliver very good results in a challenging environment, and we are confident in the prospects for that business as we move closer to spinning it off from Tribune Company. We remain focused on achieving our objective to drive profitable growth in each of our businesses.”

The Tribune Company owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and The Sun (Baltimore), among other papers. But the company is looking to protect its earnings and growth by spinning off its publishing arm, a move many believe will be followed by Gannett.


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