Tribune Media’s fourth quarter revenue fell 8% to $489 million as increases in retransmission revenue were offset by net advertising revenue decreases.
The company’s television and entertainment advertising revenue fell 15% to about $326 million while net core advertising revenue rose 3% to about $297 million.
Retransmission revenue rose 22% to $108.5 million during the quarter, and carriage fee revenue rose 3% to $31.5 million.
“While advertising was down for the year due to the off-year political cycle and a weaker overall advertising market, in the fourth quarter, we saw growth in core advertising and continued growth in retransmission revenues. We were also pleased that for the full year, despite increases in network affiliate fees, consolidated cash expenses were down compared to 2016, as we continued disciplined cost management across the company,” said Tribune Media CEO Peter Kern in a statement.
In all, Tribune’s television and entertainment revenues totaled $486 million during the fourth quarter, down from $525.7 million one year ago. The company attributed the drop to a $66 million decrease in political advertising revenue. Operating profit for the segment totaled $127 million, down from $137 million one year ago.
“Looking ahead to 2018, while we are keenly focused on the completion of our pending merger, we also see growth opportunities in the core business, with the shift in our programming strategy at WGN America expected to turn that business into a significant EBITDA contributor, and the highly contested midterm elections expected to drive a resurgence of political advertising revenue across our diverse footprint of stations. In addition, we expect to realize significant tax savings from the recent changes in the tax code on both our core business operations as well as on any potential gains from continued asset sales,” said Kern.
Net income attributable to Tribune Media Company was $328.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to $19 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.