Time Inc Suffers Steep Drop In Print Ad Revs, Digital Revs Rise

Time Inc. suffered a 21% drop in print advertising revenue, according to its 2017 first-quarter earnings report released Wednesday.

The drop was due to “fewer advertising pages sold as a result of the continuing secular trend of advertisers shifting advertising spending from print to other media, lower average price per page of advertising sold and fewer issues served to customers, primarily due to a change in frequency,” according to a Time Inc. statement.

Though Time Inc. had a 32% increase in digital advertising revenue, which now accounts for 36% of all its ad revenue, it did not offset the company’s print advertising loss. The growth in digital ad revenue was a result of the company’s acquisition of a targeting and data platform Viant, programmatic sales, native and branded content advertising and video.

Total ad revenue was $331 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $360 million in the first quarter of 2016, an 8% drop.

Circulation dipped by 14% to $205 million as a result of “fewer issues served to customers, primarily due to a change in frequency, and the continued shift in consumer preferences from print to digital media,” Time Inc. stated.

Revenues decreased $54 million or 8%, compared to a year earlier to $636 million. In an earnings call, Time CEO Rich Battista blamed the decline in numbers on the attention cast on Time Inc.’s potential sale. Time Inc. decision not to sell “has removed a major distraction for our people and advertisers,” Battista stated.

Meredith offered $18 a share when Time Inc. was mulling a sale. As of Thursday afternoon, Time Inc. stock was trading at $13 a share.

In an earnings call, Battista suggested Time Inc. will cut costs by selling “non-core assets,” but did not give further details.

Separately, The Wall Street Journal parent company News Corp announced the business publication added 305,000 daily digital subscribers last year, from March 31, 2016 and March 31, 2017.

The New York Times, by comparison, recently announced 308,000 new digital subscriptions in just the first three months of 2017.
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