Meredith’s local media group—the division housing the company’s 17 television stations—reported quarterly revenues were $154 million, which the company claimed was a record for a nonpolitical quarter.
Operating profit for the group was $41 million and EBITDA was $49 million, as nonpolitical advertising revenues increased 4% to $88 million, pushed ahead by growth in the Meredith’s Atlanta, Phoenix and St. Louis markets. Meredith’s “other revenues” increased 24%, which the company attributed primarily to growth in retransmission-related revenues.
"We continued to take steps to strengthen our brands, both at the Local and National levels, and these initiatives are yielding increasing consumer engagement," said Meredith President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Harty in a statement. "We also executed on our ongoing program of disciplined expense management, which helped generate strong operating profit growth in our National Media Group."
While nonpolitical advertising was up for Meredith, political advertising revenues came in at $1 million, well below the $16 million reported in the year-ago quarter. But growth in retransmission revenues from cable and satellite television operators helped to offset higher programming fees paid to affiliated networks.
Meredith highlighted current initiatives around local broadcast, including the launch of drone news gathering in each of its markets.
Looking ahead to the second quarter of Meredith’s fiscal 2018, compared with that same quarter last year when the company raked in $40 million in political advertising revenues, the company is expecting its local media group to post nonpolitical revenues that are up by the high teens.