Meredith Local Media reported fiscal fourth quarter 2014 revenue of $111 million, a 20% increase over the same quarter a year before. Growth was driven by strong performance from stations in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Greenville, along with the addition of KMOV St. Louis to the group. Record digital/mobile advertising revenues and higher retransmission consent revenue also paced the numbers.
"Our Local Media Group delivered another quarter of record performance," said Meredith chairman and CEO Stephen M. Lacy. "We were particularly pleased with the performance of KMOV in its first full quarter under Meredith's ownership. We also completed the acquisition of KTVK in Phoenix, and announced an agreement to purchase WGGB, the ABC affiliate in Springfield, Mass."
Fiscal fourth quarter Local Media Group operating profit was $25 million ($32 million excluding special items, a record for a fourth quarter), compared to $28 million in the prior-year period.
"We delivered record revenues and operating profit for a non-political year," said Local Media Group President Paul Karpowicz. "We're excited to add KTVK in Phoenix and KMOV in St. Louis to the Meredith portfolio, and look forward to having WGGB in Springfield join our group. The addition of these stations—along with increasing retransmission revenues, growing non-political advertising, rising digital advertising and the upcoming political advertising cycle—point to a strong fiscal 2015 for our business."
Meredith’s total revenues were $391 million in the quarter, up from the previous fourth quarter’s $387 million. National Media Group operating profit was $43 million, even with the prior-year period, while revenues were $280 million.
"In fiscal 2014, we added great new television stations to our Local Media Group portfolio; executed a number of initiatives to strengthen and grow our National Media Group including the launch of Allrecipes magazine; and increased our dividend and expanded our share repurchase program," Lacy said.
Meredith forecasts company revenues to be up mid-single digits in the fiscal first quarter, with Local Media Group revenues up 35-40%, thanks in part to political spending.