Tegna reported Media Segment revenues of $444 million for the first quarter, a 12% gain over the previous year’s first quarter, driven by double digit increases in retransmission and digital revenue, and $15.7 million in political advertising.
Politically related advertising in the quarter was 151% better than the first quarter of 2012, the last presidential election year, and 50% above 2014. Core advertising was up slightly on the former Gannett stations, excluding Super Bowl impact (Tegna had fewer stations with the Super Bowl this year than last year).
“We are pleased to have kicked off 2016 with strong results across our businesses,” said Gracia Martore, president and CEO. “Product innovation in the Media Segment contributed to revenue growth in the quarter and we plan to expand on these efforts as well as content innovation throughout the year. Additionally, we achieved a record level of first quarter politically related ad revenue and are very well positioned for the rest of the election cycle.”
Total company GAAP revenues were nearly 7% higher in the first quarter for Tegna, compared to the first quarter of 2015. On a pro forma basis, which adjusts for the impact of a business sold last year, company revenues were up 8.3%.
Digital Segment revenues were 4.1% higher on a pro forma basis, good for $338 million. The gain was driven by growth at Cars.com and offset, in part, by declines at CareerBuilder and the sale of the company’s PointRoll business.
"Continued innovation has made us a more highly-focused, growth-driven media and digital company as we've made it our goal to be at the forefront of the evolving content consumption landscape,” said Martore. “We continue to be extraordinarily well positioned for the rest of 2016 and beyond."