February 27, 2017 Last Updated 9:30 am

Higher retransmission revenue and political advertising drive record year for TEGNA

The broadcast company spun off of the former Gannett company enjoys the benefits of a highly contested, expensive election year

MCLEAN, Va. – February 27, 2017 — TEGNA Inc. today reported GAAP earnings per diluted share from continuing operations of $0.61 for the fourth quarter of 2016. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.74, a 39.6 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2015.

Gracia Martore, president and chief executive officer, said, “2016 was a record year for TEGNA, capped by a strong fourth quarter despite a highly unusual presidential election season. Non-GAAP earnings per share were 40 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2015 and increased 62 percent year-over-year. Total company revenues for both the quarter and the year were up 10 percent, boosted by record results across TEGNA Media. Higher retransmission revenues and political spending helped Media revenues grow 14 percent in the fourth quarter and reach a record level. While political spending on the presidential race was lower than predicted, TEGNA Media’s strong geographic footprint and increased non-presidential spending enabled the company to capture a large share of the overall broadcast political spend. Across TEGNA Digital, total revenues at Cars.com increased nearly five percent in the quarter thanks to the acquisition of DealerRater and an increase in display advertising revenues. CareerBuilder’s revenue growth in the quarter were the best results of the year as the company continued its integration of two recent acquisitions, Aurico and Workterra. CareerBuilder also saw positive results in its resume database, employer services products and human capital software solutions.”

Martore continued, “We continue to make progress toward our planned spin-off of Cars.com and strategic review of CareerBuilder as we move ahead on evaluating strategic alternatives for the businesses. In every decision we make, we are driving the company forward and maximizing return for our investors. Our businesses remain strong and are well positioned for growth in 2017.”

FOURTH QUARTER
CONTINUING OPERATIONS

The following table summarizes the year-over-year changes in continuing operations for both GAAP and non-GAAP measures (in thousands).

Total company revenues increased 10.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to the fourth quarter of 2015 driven by revenue growth in both the Media Segment and Digital Segment.

On a non-GAAP basis, operating expenses were up 7.2 percent primarily due to higher Media Segment expenses. Corporate expenses in the fourth quarter of 2016 totaled $15.9 million. Excluding special items, corporate expenses were $14.3 million (see Table 4).

Reported operating income declined 14.4 percent compared to the fourth quarter in 2015 while on a non-GAAP basis, operating income was 16.6 percent higher. Net income from continuing operations attributable to TEGNA was 14.6 percent lower compared to the fourth quarter of 2015. On a non-GAAP basis, net income from continuing operations attributable to TEGNA was up 34.4 percent. Adjusted EBITDA (a non-GAAP measure detailed in Table 4) totaled $349.8 million, an increase of 15.0 percent compared to the fourth quarter in 2015. The Adjusted EBITDA margin in the quarter equaled 39.4 percent, 1.6 percentage points higher than the same quarter last year.

Special items in the fourth quarter of 2016 unfavorably impacted GAAP results by $0.13 per share due primarily to non-cash impairments, facility consolidation, severance and other expenses primarily related to the potential spin-off of Cars.com and strategic review of CareerBuilder (refer to Table 3 for a reconciliation of results on a GAAP and non-GAAP basis).

FOURTH QUARTER
TEGNA MEDIA

In the fourth quarter of 2015, we changed our financial reporting cycle to a calendar year-end, which resulted in our fourth quarter of 2016 having three fewer days than the same quarter in 2015. The extra days in the fourth quarter of 2015 contributed approximately $11 million to Media Segment revenues.

The following table summarizes the year-over-year changes in select Media Segment revenue categories (in thousands).

Media Segment revenues reached a record $529.1 million in the quarter, a 14.5 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter in 2015. Excluding the extra days in the fourth quarter last year, Media Segment revenues would have been up 17.3 percent. The growth was driven by an $80.2 million increase in political advertising and a $25.5 million increase in retransmission revenues. These increases were partially offset by a decline in core advertising due to the displacement effect of political advertising in the quarter. Excluding the extra days in the fourth quarter last year, core advertising revenues would have been approximately 11.0 percent lower reflecting, in part, political displacement.

Media Segment operating expenses were $292.6 million compared to $261.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The increase was due primarily to higher programming fees and continued investment in growth initiatives. Operating income was $236.5 million, an increase of 17.9 percent compared to $200.7 million in the fourth quarter in 2015. On a non-GAAP basis, operating income in the quarter was 17.6 percent higher and totaled $243.7 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $261.2 million, an increase of 16.4 percent resulting in an Adjusted EBITDA margin of 49.4 percent in the quarter.

Based on current trends, we expect Media Segment revenue in the first quarter of 2017 to be flat to slightly above the first quarter of 2016. The year-over-year comparison will be unfavorably impacted by substantially lower political advertising revenue ($16 million in the first quarter of 2016) and the move of the Super Bowl to our 3 small FOX stations in 2017 from our 11 CBS stations in 2016. Excluding the unfavorable impact of the Super Bowl shift (approximately $9 million) and lower politically-related advertising, the percentage increase in Media Segment revenues is expected to be up in the mid-single digits in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the first quarter of 2016.

Media Segment revenues reached a record $529.1 million in the quarter, a 14.5 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter in 2015. Excluding the extra days in the fourth quarter last year, Media Segment revenues would have been up 17.3 percent. The growth was driven by an $80.2 million increase in political advertising and a $25.5 million increase in retransmission revenues. These increases were partially offset by a decline in core advertising due to the displacement effect of political advertising in the quarter. Excluding the extra days in the fourth quarter last year, core advertising revenues would have been approximately 11.0 percent lower reflecting, in part, political displacement.

Media Segment operating expenses were $292.6 million compared to $261.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The increase was due primarily to higher programming fees and continued investment in growth initiatives. Operating income was $236.5 million, an increase of 17.9 percent compared to $200.7 million in the fourth quarter in 2015. On a non-GAAP basis, operating income in the quarter was 17.6 percent higher and totaled $243.7 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $261.2 million, an increase of 16.4 percent resulting in an Adjusted EBITDA margin of 49.4 percent in the quarter.

Based on current trends, we expect Media Segment revenue in the first quarter of 2017 to be flat to slightly above the first quarter of 2016. The year-over-year comparison will be unfavorably impacted by substantially lower political advertising revenue ($16 million in the first quarter of 2016) and the move of the Super Bowl to our 3 small FOX stations in 2017 from our 11 CBS stations in 2016. Excluding the unfavorable impact of the Super Bowl shift (approximately $9 million) and lower politically-related advertising, the percentage increase in Media Segment revenues is expected to be up in the mid-single digits in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the first quarter of 2016.

Other non-operating expense was $9.2 million, an increase of $3.0 million from the fourth quarter of 2015 reflecting primarily expenses associated with the anticipated spin-off of Cars.com and strategic review of CareerBuilder. Other non-operating income on a non-GAAP basis in the fourth quarter of 2016 was $1.9 million compared to $2.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Cash flow from operating activities for the fourth quarter of 2016 was $228.7 million. Free cash flow (a non-GAAP measure – Refer to Table 5) totaled $202.4 million for the quarter. Long-term debt outstanding was $4.0 billion and total cash was $76.9 million at the end of the quarter. During the quarter, we repurchased 497,621 shares of our outstanding stock for $11.0 million. Dividends paid in the quarter totaled $30.0 million. The effective tax rate in the quarter was 34.2 percent on a GAAP basis. On a non-GAAP basis, the effective tax rate was 30.7 percent reflecting the benefit of various tax planning initiatives and the tax benefit of restricted stock units which vested in the quarter.

FULL YEAR 2016
CONTINUING OPERATIONS

Total operating revenues for the full year were $3.34 billion, an increase of 9.5 percent compared to 2015 reflecting revenue increases in the Media Segment and the Digital Segment. Media Segment revenues increased 14.9 percent compared to 2015 to a record $1.9 billion driven by a $133.4 million increase in political spending, advertising related to the Summer Olympics of $55.9 million and a 29.7 percent increase in retransmission revenue. Adjusting for the change to a calendar fiscal year, Media Segment revenues were up approximately 16 percent. Digital Segment revenues were 2.8 percent higher reflecting revenue growth of 6.1 percent at Cars.com and 2.3 percent at CareerBuilder.

Operating expenses totaled $2.37 billion, an increase of 10.8 percent compared to 2015, reflecting higher expenses in the Media Segment and the Digital Segment and the gain on sale of the corporate headquarters in 2015 and offset partially by the absence of unallocated costs that impacted results in 2015. On a non-GAAP basis, operating expenses were up 5.0 percent to $2.31 billion primarily due to higher programming fees, expenses associated with revenue growth in the year and continued investment in growth initiatives at our Media Segment. Operating income totaled $972.1 million compared to $913.2 million in 2015. On a non-GAAP basis, operating income was 21.3 percent higher and totaled $1.03 billion while net income from continuing operations attributable to TEGNA was 54.7 percent higher.

Adjusted EBITDA was $1.23 billion in 2016 compared to $1.05 billion in 2015, an increase of 17.1 percent. The Adjusted EBITDA margin in 2016 was 36.9 percent, an increase of 2.3 percentage points from 34.6 percent in 2015.

As previously announced, the company will hold an earnings conference call at 10:00 a.m. E.T. today. The call can be accessed via a live webcast through the company’s Investors website, investors.TEGNA.com, or listen-only conference lines. U.S. callers should dial 1-888-282-4591 and international callers should dial 1-719-325-2455 at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the call. The confirmation code for the conference call is 1551080. A replay of the conference call will be available under “Investor Relations” at www.TEGNA.com from Monday, February 27 at 2 p.m. (ET) to Monday, March 13 at 2 p.m. (ET). To access the replay, dial 888-203-1112 or 719-457-0820. The confirmation code for the replay is 1551080. Materials related to the call will be available through the Investor Relations section of the company’s website Monday morning.

TEGNA Inc. (NYSE:TGNA) is comprised of a dynamic portfolio of media and digital businesses that provide content that matters and brands that deliver. TEGNA offers highly relevant, useful and smart content, when and how people need it, to make the best decisions possible. TEGNA Media includes 46 television stations (including those serviced by TEGNA) and is the largest independent station group of major network affiliates in the top 25 markets, reaching approximately one-third of all television households nationwide. TEGNA Digital is comprised of Cars.com, a leading online destination for automotive consumers, CareerBuilder, a global leader in human capital solutions, and G/O Digital, a customized local digital marketing company. For more information, visit www.tegna.com.

Certain statements in this press release may be forward looking in nature or “forward looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward looking statements contained in this press release are subject to a number of risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual performance to differ materially from these forward looking statements. A number of those risks, trends and uncertainties are discussed in the company’s SEC reports, including the company’s annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Any forward looking statements in this press release should be evaluated in light of these important risk factors.

TEGNA is not responsible for updating the information contained in this press release beyond the published date, or for changes made to this press release by wire services, Internet service providers or other media.

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