Meredith 3Q: Broadcast Revs Down 10%, Publishing Flat
Broadcasting profit was down 10% to $19 million for its fiscal third quarter, ending March 31. Revenues also slipped to 1% to $78 million. Over the last nine months, broadcasting had similar results, with operating profit at $60 million against $79 million in 2007.
Meredith has also been hurt by lower political ad dollars--as have virtually all other station groups. Political revenues for the first nine months of fiscal 2008 were $29 million less than the prior-year period. Overall broadcasting revenues were $240 million compared to $264 million.
On a positive note, the company said its online revenues increased nearly 50% during the quarter; its monthly average unique visitors rose fourfold to 8 million. Meredith says more than 1.3 million videos were streamed on its broadcasting sites each month during the quarter.
Meredith's publishing business did a bit better than broadcasting--with operating profit at $64.7 million, on par with its $64.4 million of the period before. Publishing revenues were virtually the same at $323.5 million versus $323.3 million. The improved news came from circulation revenue gains and profit margin increases.
On the downside, publishing ad revenues slipped 4% to $155 million, coming from weakness in home, pharmaceuticals and direct-response advertising categories. This was partially offset by bigger revenues in food advertising, Meredith's largest advertising category. This contrasts to the first half of fiscal 2008, when the company witnessed 10% growth in advertising.
Overall, the company's net earnings inched up 1.7% to $46 million during the period, while revenues were virtually flat at $401.0 million from $401.8 for the third quarter 2007.