March 4, 2015 Last Updated 11:29 am

Tribune Publishing reports ad revenue falling over 10% as income for 2014 dives

The spun off division of the Tribune Company reports earnings for the close of a rough 2014, forecasts higher income for 2015

The publisher of the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, Tribune Publishing, today reported full year earnings for 2014. The publisher reported total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2014 at $457 million, a decline of 5.5 percent versus the same quarter a year ago.

LAT-front-135Advertising slumped dramatically, falling to $266 million compared to $296 million a year ago, a decline of 10.4 percent. Despite the fall in revenue, and the subsequent fall in production expenses, total costs were essentially flat as the company reported higher costs due to the spin off and other expenses. As a result, net income for Q4 came in at $15.5 million, down from $32.76 million, and for the year net income was down 56 percent to $42.3 million.

“2014 was a watershed year for Tribune Publishing as we became a publicly traded company on August 4 and began executing on our strategy of transformation to a fully diversified, multiplatform media and marketing solutions company,” Tribune Publishing’s CEO Jack Griffin said in the earnings release.

“In the fourth quarter, Tribune Publishing launched our next-generation digital experience and responsive mobile apps across the Company; we significantly grew our digital-only subscribers and paid digital users, and we undertook a comprehensive zero-based budgeting process that is expected to produce 2015 in-year expense savings of $65 million to $70 million. We ended 2014 with 3.2 million digital registered users, 659,000 paid digital users and 61,000 digital-only subscribers. In addition, total full-year digital revenues from all sources equal approximately $200 million (excluding the favorable impact of affiliate agreements prior to the corporate transaction modifications), representing more than 11% of total revenue. With significant investments behind us, we expect to see growth in digital revenues in 2015.”

The company gave investors a forecast for 2015 of revenue between $1.65 billion and $1.67 billion, with adjusted EBITDA of between $160 million and $170 million. The company also said it expected there to be expense reductions of $65 to $70 million this year.

“In 2015, Tribune Publishing will remain vigilant and focused on executing our comprehensive transformational plan, which includes accelerating our transition to digital; diversifying our revenue base; lowering our cost structure; executing accretive acquisitions; and realigning our national sales organization,” Griffin said.

TribPub-Q42014

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