Tribune Revenue Down 11% In Fourth Quarter

Challenges on broadcasting side 'are definable and addressable,' says Liguori
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Tribune reported fourth quarter consolidated revenues of $773 million, down 11% from the previous year’s fourth quarter, which Tribune attributed in part to an extra week in the previous year’s fourth.

Broadcasting revenue was $267 million in the quarter, down 13% from the same quarter ago. Lower political revenue and a $10 million decrease in barter revenue dragged down earnings. Tribune’s $2.73 billion acquisition of Local TV closed on Dec. 27, 2013 and thus contributed just $4 million of revenues in the fourth quarter.

Tribune’s publishing revenues were $507 million in the quarter, down 11% from the same quarter in 2012. The segment saw a $24 million decline in ad revenue and $6 million shortfall in commercial printing and delivery services, while circulation revenues climbed 4%.

Consolidated revenue for the whole of 2013 was $2.9 billion, down 8% from the whole of 2012. An extra week in 2012 accounted for $46 million, said Tribune.

“Broadcasting revenue trends during the first three quarters were disappointing,” said Peter Liguori, president and CEO, Tribune. “However, in the fourth quarter, non-political core advertising revenue stabilized year over year. Our root challenges are definable and addressable and we have taken action.”

Liguori sounded a confident note about Tribune’s newspaper holdings. “In the publishing business, our operational actions have stabilized profitability and we are confident that we are building a solid foundation for this business’s future,” he said. “Overall we are excited by our prospects for Q1 and full year 2014.”

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