Fueled by political advertising and retransmission money, Meredith Local Media Group Thursday reported a record fiscal first quarter, with revenues rising more than 20% to $153 million.
The broadcast group, which includes 17 TV stations, reaped $16 million in political revenues during 1Q of fiscal 2017, which is 26% more than it got during the last political cycle in 1Q fiscal 2015, the company said.
Political spending was “particularly robust” in markets with competitive down-ballot races—Las Vegas, St. Louis, Phoenix and Kansas City among them—Meredith said. Presidential spending accounted for less than 15% of political revenue.
Non-political ad revenue reached $84 million, with inventory limited by political in markets with competitive races. Meredith’s lone NBC affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee, was the only beneficiary of Summer Olympics advertising, Meredith said.
The Local Media Group also saw a rise in digital ad spends, which were up 22% over the same period of time last year, according to the report.
Meredith’s earnings report comes on the heels of the group’s recent expansion of local news at six of its stations. The company also has launched initiatives to increase engagement with millennials on digital platforms.