August 7, 2014 Last Updated 7:38 am

Journal Communications, merging properties with E.W. Scripps, reports Q2 earnings

Latest earnings report shows broadcast doing well, growing, while the print side of the business continues to struggle

The media company Journal Communications reported its second quarter earnings today and reported a 4.9 percent increase in revenue and a nice bump in earnings. The company said last week that it would merge its properties with E.W. Scripps, then spin-off into two companies, one broadcast and one publishing – Journal Communications would remain in publishing and be called Journal Media Group.

Based on the new earnings report, Journal Media Group, as expected, is getting the part that is shrinking, not growing.

The publisher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that television revenue grew 12.8 percent in Q2, while publishing revenue fell a modest 2.0 percent. Publishing earnings dived 14.1 percent. Thanks to sponsorship revenue, digital grew 5.1 percent in the publishing group.

It is pretty clear that the new Journal Media Group will be hoping that by having more newspaper properties it can boost national advertising. That category produced only $564K this quarter in revenue. Local retail makes up by far the most ad revenue, $16.1 million or about 80 percent of ad revenue. Classified, which two decades ago could account for 50 percent of a newspaper’s ad revenue, only accounted for just under 18 percent of total revenue, and continues to fall.

Meanwhile, E.W. Scripps, which will retain its company name, will pick up the broadcast properties of Journal Communications. But growth in television revenue was not really based on local sales, but a big bump in retransmission fees and political ads. The good news for those properties is that next quarter should see an even greater increase in those ads as the mid-term elections approach.

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