Meredith Thursday reported that revenues generated by its broadcast group rose nearly 9% to a record $141 million during the second quarter of 2016, which wraps up the company’s fiscal year.
Driven by retransmission and political revenue, operating profit for the Local Media Group, which includes 17 TV stations, rose 7% to a new high of $43 million, the company said.
In reporting its most recent earnings, Meredith said that the group’s strong performance in Q2 caps off a year of growth among TV stations.
During fiscal 2016, non-political ad revenues rose 5% to $374 million, fueled largely by the additions of Fox affiliate WALA in Mobile, Ala., and ABC affiliate WGGB in Springfield, Mass., as well as strong showings from existing stations CBS affiliate WGCL Atlanta, CBS affiliate KMOV St. Louis and KCTV, the CBS affiliate in Kansas City.
Political advertising revenues rang in at $13 million, with Meredith generating significant revenues from stations in Nevada, Missouri and Connecticut, Local Media Group president Paul Karpowicz said during the company’s earnings call.
However, the real political money won’t be rolling in until later this quarter, Karpowicz said.
Karpowicz said he is “cautiously optimistic” that election revenue will be on the high side this year. With the unusual election year, perennial candidates like Arizona Sen. John McCain are cranking up the ads, he said.
“There are a lot of those down ballot races with candidates who can’t count on the top of the ticket bringing out voters,” Karpowicz said. “Guys like McCain will have to spend their own money.”
Karpowicz said presidential campaigns typically generate just 15% of political revenue, so he is not too concerned about the lack of spending so far by Donald Trump.
“It’s really not the end of the world,” he said.
Meantime, Meredith also reported digital advertising revenues increasing 13% as a series of growth strategies continued to drive higher advertising rates across the group's digital businesses, the company reported.
Other revenues and operating expenses increased, due primarily to growth in retransmission revenues from cable and satellite television operators and higher programming fees paid to affiliated networks.