Revenue Drops at Journal Communications

Chairman and CEO Steven J. Smith Optimistic About Journal Broadcast Group

Fourth-quarter-2007 revenue from continuing operations dropped 15.7% at Journal Communications, from $175.2 million in 2006 to $147.6 million in the same quarter last year.

The fourth quarter of 2006 benefited from an extra week, Journal noted, as well as $10 million in political money.

Earnings from continuing operations for the quarter were $10.2 million compared with $20 million the year before, a freefall of 48.8%. Net earnings were $9.5 million versus $23.4 million in Q4 2006, a plummet of 59.5%.

In the fourth quarter of 2007, Journal recorded a charge for a work-force reduction at Journal Sentinel and goodwill impairment at direct-marketing company PrimeNet, partially offset by favorable litigation-related adjustments. The unfavorable aggregate after-tax impact of these items was $1.9 million, Journal said.

For full-year 2007, revenue from continuing operations was $582.7 million, down 7.3% from 2006. The year 2006 benefited from political, the Winter Olympic Games and the extra week. Earnings from continuing operations for full-year 2007 were $43 million, down 20% from the year before.

"We faced a number of challenges in 2007 as the adverse effects of an off-cycle year for political and issue advertising, reduced spending by the domestic auto industry, the impact of a broad downturn in real estate and the shift of certain advertising to the Internet negatively affected our operating results," Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steven J. Smith said.

Smith sounded a positive note about broadcasting, which saw a 19.2% quarterly drop in revenue to $56.7 million and a yearly drop of 8.6% to $218.1 million.

"At Journal Broadcast Group, developmental revenue continued to grow, increasing 17% for the year,” he said. “Local spot revenue in television was up 3% excluding the 2006 extra week, political revenue and the addition of KPSE-TV in our Palm Springs [Calif.] market. We are also encouraged by the growth of our television ratings in Las Vegas, Tucson [Ariz.] and Omaha [Neb.].”