Time Inc.'s total ad revenue in 2016 increased 3% -- or $57 million -- to $1.71 billion compared to the previous year, according to its latest earnings report released Thursday. This was despite a 10% dip in print advertising revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016.
The publisher of Sports Illustrated, People and Time magazines saw its digital ad revenue grow to $166 million in the fourth quarter, largely thanks to the company’s acquisition of ad-tech firm Viant. For the full year, Time Inc. had a 55% growth in digital advertising revenue to over $500 million.
In a statement, Time Inc. said this growth was also due to an increase in programmatic sales.
As a result, total ad revenue grew by 5% in the fourth quarter to $509 million.
The company added that the drop in print advertising was “attributable to fewer advertising pages sold, primarily resulting from the continuing trend of advertisers shifting advertising spending from print to other media, and lower average price per page of advertising sold.”
Meanwhile, native advertising revenues doubled in 2016. Time Inc. worked with more than 400 advertisers on native programs.
Circulation revenue decreased $31 million or 11% in the fourth quarter. In 2016, circulation revenues decreased $99 million, or 9%, from the previous year to $944 million, primarily due to “the continued shift in consumer preferences from print to digital media,” the company stated.
Time Inc. increased its fourth-quarter operating income from $10 million to $122 million year-over-year -- the highest rate of growth in any single quarter for the company since 2014.
Revenues decreased $10 million, or 1%, in the fourth quarter of 2016 from the year-earlier quarter to $867 million.
The company said exchange-rate fluctuations between the U.S. dollar and the British pound hurt the company’s revenue and caused a $22 million adverse impact on quarterly revenue.
For the full year 2016, revenues decreased $27 million or 1% versus the prior year to $3.08 billion, “primarily reflecting declines in Print and other advertising revenues and Circulation revenues, partially offset by growth in Digital advertising revenues primarily driven by acquisitions,” according to the statement.
The company said it expects $600 million in digital revenue next year.
Meanwhile, Time Inc. has reportedly begun discussions with potential buyers Meredith Corp. and an investment group led by entertainment exec Edgar Bronfman Jr. Both parties have progressed to the signing of nondisclosure agreements with Time Inc.
Last week, publishers Gannett and McClatchy also reported their 2016 earnings. Gannett's revenues were down by 8.8% for the year and suffered a print advertising loss of 15% in the U.S.
McClatchy reported that its revenues were down by 7.5% for the year, with a print ad loss of 20.6% for the fourth quarter.