Fueled by a rise in TV revenue, Tribune Media Tuesday reported a 10% increase in consolidated operating revenue during the first quarter of 2016, bringing the total to $520.5 million.
The bulk of that money came from Tribune’s television and entertainment divisions, which earned $454.7 million during the three months ending March 31, an 11% increase over Q1 2015, according to the company.
Tribune credits the lift to higher net political advertising revenue of $13.3 million, an increase in retransmission consent revenue of $14.7 million, or 21%, and an increase in carriage fee revenue of $9.5 million, or 44%. The divisions also had an increase in core advertising revenues of $6.4 million, which is 2.2% higher than it was last year.
Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $116 million compared to $135 million last year, the company said. Adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter was impacted largely by a planned increase of $25 million in programming expenses and $16 million of promotion expenses, primarily associated with premiering the original series Outsiders and Underground on WGN America, according to Tribune.
Peter Liguori, Tribune Media's president and CEO, said in a statement that the success of those originals “demonstrates that our plan to reinvent the network is working better than we could have imagined.”
Total quarterly earnings also include $53.3 million in digital revenue, up from $50.2 million, or 6.1%. The increase stemmed primarily from Tribune acquiring and launching Infostrada Sports, SportsDirect, Covers and Enswers during the second quarter of last year, the company said.
“We are pleased with our first quarter results and as our reaffirmed full year guidance indicates, we expect significant Adjusted EBITDA growth for the remainder of 2016,” Liguori said.