Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tribune TV sees revenue decline despite adding stations

To be fair, the acquisitions are too recent to really show up on the quarterly financial reports - but filings for the second quarter of 2013 showed TV station revenues were down 20% from the second quarter of 2012.  While political advertising in 2012 may have boosted quarterly revenues in 2012, the report attributes much of this year's decline to poor ratings and weak ad sales at WPIX-TV in New York (ad revenues for that station dropped by $17 million).  Overall, operating profit from the broadcasting division dropped by more than half, falling to $51 million in 2Q 2013, from $124 million in 2Q 2012.  In contrast, publishing revenues fell by just 4%, while operating profit soared from $15 million in 2Q 2012 to $60 million in 2Q 2013.  (Within the publishing unit, revenues and profits have significantly declined for the big, "elite", papers, but are countered by better performance among smaller dailies and other publishing units).

In the meantime, Tribune has indicated plans to spin off the publishing division (and selling off the loss-leading big dailies like the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times) and building up its broadcasting division.  In July, they announced the planned acquisition of Local TV LLC and its 19 stations.  The deal would make Tribune the country's biggest commercial TV station owner (at least along one metric).  As with many such big deals, there is some overlap of stations and markets, and Tribune proposed selling 2-3 stations in order to come into compliance with FCC duopoly rules.

Source -  Tribune TV Revs Sink 20%, Ad Revs Down 7%,  MediaDailyNews
Tribune looks to sell TV stations in Pennsylvania, Virginia,  Crain's Chicago Business

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