Core advertising for its TV stations rose 2.6% or $8.1 million, but was down 9% for the period to $346.5 million. Ad revenues were impacted by a decline of $46.5 million in political advertising dollars.
Virtually all TV station groups have seen declines in political advertising during the same time period.
Tribune witnessed higher retransmission fees for the quarter and for the year -- up 22% to $97 million for the fourth quarter and 28% to $368.5 million for the year. There was also a 58% rise in carriage fee revenue, due to higher rates for WGN America during the fourth quarter.
Digital revenues from its businesses -- including Gracenote, What’s On and Baseline as well as new digital purchases Sports, SportsDirect, and Enswers -- were up 18% in the fourth quarter to $71 million and 25% for full-year 2015 to $211.5 million.
Tribune posted a net loss of $380.9 million versus a net income $314.6 million, and a 1% drop in total revenue to $547.6 million. Tribune blamed higher programming expenses and the lower political advertising dollars for the decline.
Tribune said it hired advisers to “explore the full range of strategic and financial alternatives to enhance shareholder value.”