Political Blues: Meredith TV Revs Tank 10%, Digital Up

Meredith Corp. TV revenues sank almost 10% in the first fiscal quarter of 2012 -- all due to lower political advertising.

Revenues were down 9.3% to $69 million. The company had $11 million less in political advertising revenues in the first quarter of fiscal 2012.

Taking out political, Meredith had a slight rise of 3% to $59 million. The company credits automotive advertising improvement of 4% -- this on top of 40% growth in the prior-year quarter. Meredith says its five largest TV advertising categories climbed versus the first fiscal quarter of 2011.

Better news came from the companies' TV-related digital businesses -- which grew 25%. All of Meredith's five-largest ad categories grew revenues.

Operating profit at Meredith's Local Media Group, where its TV stations sit, was $11 million compared to $17 million in the prior-year period.

"We were able to leverage our strong news ratings to drive advertising growth across our largest categories and markets, and once again prove local television's unique power to drive consumers to retail," stated Stephen M. Lacy, chairman/chief executive officer of Meredith.

For its National Media Group, where its magazine and related online businesses are, business continued to be challenged. Operating profit was $36 million compared to $40 million. Revenues were $259 million, compared to $267 million.

Just looking at advertising, those businesses sank by a collective $12 million to $124 million.

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