Tegna’s revenues were down in a non-election year, but its fourth-quarter earnings rose thanks to the new corporate tax law.
Income from continuing operation was $303.2 million, or $1.40 a share, compared to $97.5 million, or 45 cents a share a year ago. Tegna got a one-time tax benefit of $221 million a s a result of the new corporate tax laws. Operating income was down 25.9% to $155.9 million
Revenue fell 10.3% to $490.3 million, largely because of a drop in political advertising to $9.9 million from $90.8 million a year ago. Subscription revenue was up 22.7% to $178.4 million.
For the first quarter, Tegna said it expects revenue to increase 10% to 12%, driven by the Olympics and Super Bowl on its NBC affiliates, plus gains in subscription revenue. During 2018, Tegna expect its cash taxes will decline by about $35 million.
“Tegna in 2017 became a pure-play media company, and this focus and strategic clarity has produced tangible results,” said CEO Dave Lougee.
“Our content transformation efforts produced multiple new formats, original programs and digital-first investigations, earning us more national honors than any other local broadcaster, as we continue to execute on our strategy of redefining local journalism in the digital age,” Lougee said. “Organic growth initiatives, such as Premion, an innovative solution for over-the-top (OTT) advertising that reaches cord cutters, are expanding our revenue base and giving us access to new markets.”