Tribune Media Revenues, Profit Up For First Quarter


Waiting For Sinclair

With the company’s sale to SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP still pending, TRIBUNE MEDIA CO. TODAY reported first quarter 2018 revenue up 1% year to year to $443.6 million, with consolidated operating profit up from a loss of $21 million to a gain of $187.3 million, including a $133 million net pretax gain on spectrum sales, and net income up from a loss of $85.6 million to a gain of $141.2 million.  The Television and Entertainment division saw net advertising revenues drop 7% to $270.4 million (excluding political and digital, off 10% to $245.0 million); retransmission revenues increased 25% to $118.1 million, and carriage fee revenues increased 24% to $41.7 million.  As always, the results for the company’s sole radio property, News-Talk WGN-A/CHICAGO, were not separately reported.

“TRIBUNE MEDIA is off to a strong start in 2018 with first quarter revenues up one percent and consolidated Adjusted EBITDA more than doubling year-over-year,” said CEO PETER KARN. “Our new strategy at WGN AMERICA, our sustained focus on overall expense management, and our very strong growth in retransmission and carriage fee revenues, are driving meaningful improvements in profitability across the company. These improvements more than offset the anticipated headwinds to core advertising due to the soft overall advertising environment and our limited exposure to OLYMPICS and SUPER BOWL advertising. When adjusted for the substantial impact of core advertising dollars shifting into the Olympics and a challenging SUPER BOWL comparison to last year, we estimate that first quarter core advertising revenues were down in the low single digit percentage range year-over-year.

“As we continue to move toward closing our previously announced merger with Sinclair, the company maintains an aggressive focus on profitability. At WGN AMERICA, our new programming strategy has produced solid audience growth and made the network a significant contributor to consolidated Adjusted EBITDA. Additionally, corporate expenses were down double-digits year-over-year. Finally, while we expect to generate the majority of our political advertising revenue in the second half of the year, the momentum of political spending we saw in the first quarter is very encouraging. As we move deeper into 2018, we are well positioned to execute on our strategy and remain committed to delivering value for our shareholders, advertisers and the communities we serve.”

The TRIBUNE Board of Directors has also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 per share, to be paid on JUNE 5th to shareholders of record as of MAY 21st.

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