Tegna’s third-quarter revenues dropped 11%, feeling the same impact as other broadcasters amid tough comps from the 2016 Summer Olympics and the presidential election.
But the company seemed confident those trends would be reversed in the year to come.
“As we look to 2018, Tegna will benefit from some substantial tailwinds, including the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl on our outperforming NBC stations in the first quarter, as well as our favorable political footprint for the midterm elections combined with execution against our innovation initiatives, will result in a very strong 2018 performance,” said Tegna President and CEO Dave Lougee in a statement.
“Looking beyond 2018, as the largest owner of big four affiliates in the top 25 markets, Tegna is uniquely positioned to benefit from the anticipated in-market ownership rule changes proposed by the FCC,” Lougee said. “Our strong balance sheet gives us the flexibility to invest opportunistically in both organic and inorganic growth. All opportunities will be assessed with our usual financial discipline.”
Tegna’s subscription revenue (which accounts for retransmission) rose 24% during the quarter as the company finalized additional over-the-top (OTT) distribution deals with streaming services and network partners and landed per-subscriber economic terms the company said are equal to or better than the per-subscriber economics of traditional MVPDs.
But elsewhere, the company saw flagging results. The advertising and marketing services segment revenues fell 16% to about $288 million, and political advertising dropped off significantly, down 90% year over year.
Tegna’s operating income was 37.1% lower compared to the third quarter in 2016. Net income from continuing operations was $50.8 million.