Sunday, February 26, 2012

Financial Reports - Mixed Media

It's getting to be the time when a lot of company report their numbers for 4th quarter, 2011.

  The Bad - the Washington Post Company reported total revenues declined 10% in the last quarter.  The WaPo saw declines in their newspaper publishing, broadcast TV, and education divisions, while revenues were flat for the cable division.  Newspaper division losses were attributed primarily to a continuing fall in print advertising revenues at The Washington Post (down 6%).  Broadcast TV ad revenues fell 7%.  Annual revenue numbers were similar, with 2011 total annual revenues of $4.21 billion falling 10% below 2010 numbers.
  Mixed - the financial numbers for E. W. Scripps Company fourth quarter were more of a mixed bag.  Total revenues from Scripps newspapers fell 3.3% in the 4th quarter of 2011 - the third consecutive quarter of falling revenues.  Circulation revenues were stable, but print advertising revenue was down 5.1%.  Revenues from the television station division as a whole were up some 15% from 2009.  That gain was driven primarily by gains in local advertising (14%); a drop of almost 90% in political advertising in 2011 (compared to 2010) contributed to a drop in revenues and profits for 2011, compared to 2010. The overall TV division picture was also buoyed by significant growth in non-advertising revenues - revenues from renegotiated retransmission consent agreements were 30% higher, and revenues from digital businesses grew by 21%.  (However, retrans and digital totals were only about 10% of local ad revenues - so while growing, they are not yet significant revenue streams).  Still, growing such nontraditional revenue sources appear to be a focus for Scripps -
Rich Boehne, president and CEO of E. W. Scripps, stated that late last year, the company "launched a series of paid news and weather apps that represent the next generation of market-defining digital products," believing they will be a "valuable digital marketplace for services, built upon high-quality local news content."
  The Good - the idea to work on paid apps would seem to be supported by a report on the Android apps market by analytics firm Distimo.  The study found that Amazon's Appstore for Android is emerging as a challenger for Google's Android market - and that both app downloads and app revenues were exploding.  Distimo noted that there were more than 100 apps generating at least $200 in revenue daily from one or another of the two stores.  Downloads for top apps increased 14-fold in the new Amazon Appstore, and it generated more than a quarter of app revenues.

In sum, the increasingly diverse and competitive media world seems to still be hampering media firms' ability to rely on a few traditional revenue streams.  In the meantime, other revenue opportunities seem to be opening up for those firms with the foresight and flexibility to take advantage.

Sources -  WaPo Dives 10%, Hits Across DivisionsMediaDailyNews
Scripps Reports TV Gains, Newspapers Slide,  MediaDailyNews 
Distimo: Amazon Appstore developer revenues exploding,  FierceMobileContent

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