Meredith’s Q2 sees strong revenue growth in broadcast and digital, flat magazine revenue
‘We continued our record-setting performance in the second quarter and first half of fiscal 2017, driven by record political advertising revenues at our television stations’
The has been so much going on this week that I completely missed that fact that Meredith had reported its earnings for its Q2 2017 fiscal year. Overall, the numbers were excellent, with net earnings up substantially over the prior year. With half the year over, net earnings stand at $105.8 million versus $43.5 million a year ago.
Local media, what Meredith calls its broadcast side, led the way. The reason was political advertising as Meredith recorded $40M of political ads versus next to nothing from the prior year, which an off year for elections. Non-political advertising slid a bit, which is probably not unusual during a heated election year.
Print magazine advertising fell a bit, though when you take out the shuttered More magazine revenue was flat. Digital advertising grew 16 percent in the quarter, and now represents 40 percent of all advertising for the publishing side.
“In our Local Media Group, we generated a record $67 million of political ad revenues and increased net retransmission contribution,” said President and COO Tom Harty. “In our National Media Group, we delivered growth in ad revenues as double-digit gains in digital advertising outpaced slight declines in magazine advertising. Importantly, we renewed our industry leading Better Homes & Gardens licensing program at Walmart stores nationwide.”
First half earnings per share were a record $2.33, compared to $0.96 in the prior-year period. Excluding special items, the company said, fiscal 2017 first half earnings per share grew 55 percent to a record $2.05, up from $1.32 in the prior-year period.
“We continued our record-setting performance in the second quarter and first half of fiscal 2017, driven by record political advertising revenues at our television stations and double-digit growth in digital ad revenues in both the national and local businesses,” said CEO Stephen M. Lacy. “We continue to expect to deliver record full fiscal year 2017 revenue and earnings performance, driven by aggressive execution of our strategic growth initiatives.”
At this time last year, the big news with Meredith was that its deal with Media General was falling apart. Eventually Media General merged with Nexstar Broadcasting Group. One factor that hurt the deal was that Meredith remained, and remains, heavy in print magazines. Even with all the political advertising that Meredith’s Local Media side generated, the National Media side (magazines) still accounted to close to 60 percent of all revenue.
But as long as Meredith can still produce profits it will be the subject of rumors about buying all or part of Time Inc. Hearst, too, is said to want at least some of Time’s titles. The problem, of course, remains those weeklies, which no one seems to want to take.
Here are the financials for Q2: