Meredith’s Local Media Group broadcast TV revenues climbed to $142 million, only slightly ahead of the $141 million posted in the year-ago quarter.
Fiscal 2017 third quarter Local Media Group operating profit was $41 million, down from $46 million one year ago, and EBITDA was $50 million, down from $55.5 million one year ago.
Meredith said that growth in retransmission revenues helped to offset the impact of cyclical political advertising revenues and the Super Bowl airing this year on Fox instead of CBS, since Meredith's CBS affiliates have a larger reach than its Fox affiliates. Nonpolitical advertising revenues were $84 million, down from $91 million during the year-ago quarter.
"Meredith continues to fire on all cylinders, generating strong profits while increasing our consumer reach across multiple platforms," said Meredith President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Harty in a statement. "This includes rapid expansion of our digital offerings to consumers and advertisers alike; launching new products such as The Magnolia Journal; adding newscasts across our television station portfolio; and growing nonadvertising sources of revenue such as retransmission fees, brand licensing and e-commerce."
Amid the slightly mixed results, Meredith is pledging to grow its broadcasting unit both organically and through strategic investments. Current, the company’s Local Media Group includes 17 owned and operated television stations reaching 11% of households.
That includes Peachtree TV (WPCH) that Meredith just bought from Turner. With WPCH, Meredith now has its fifth owned-and-operated duopoly since it already owns a CBS affiliate in Atlanta. The company is not expecting the Peachtree purchase to materially affect its 2017 results.