Election Payoff: Tribune Grabs $42.5M From Political Ads

Tribune Media, a possible acquisition target, made gains from the political advertising season that were similar to that of other TV network groups.

Political advertising posted a healthy $42.5 million in ad revenue, up 90% over the last midterm elections in 2016 and 36% more than third-quarter 2016 for the presidential election.

Political ads pushed out core advertisers at its stations -- a common occurrence at TV stations in a big political advertising season. Core advertising had a 2% decline to $267.8 million.

Tribune’s Television and Entertainment division -- which includes its TV stations, WGN America, and other properties -- saw revenues 11% higher to $494.6 million.

But Peter Kern, CEO, Tribune Media, said: “Net of displacement, we estimate core advertising growth would have been in positive territory for the quarter, which is a significant improvement compared to the first half of the year.”

Total company-wide revenues were up 11% to $498 million; with net income at $54.1 million against a $18.7 million net loss in the third quarter 2017. Much of this improvement comes from a $38 million decline in programming expenses, as well as the absence of barter expense due to the new revenue guidance adopted this year.



Retransmission revenues for its TV stations grew 12% to $116.6 million, while carriage fees for its interests in cable TV networks added 30% to $40.1 million.

Net income attributable to Tribune was $54.1 million against a net loss of $18.7 million in the third quarter of 2017.

Per the New York Post, Tribune Media, which was part of a failed $3.9 billion attempt to be sold to Sinclair Broadcast Group, is now being eyed by TV entrepreneur Bryon Allen.

Last month, the paper reported that Tom Hicks Jr., who heads up private-equity firm Hicks Equity Partners -- as well as America First, a super PAC that’s aligned with President Trump -- is also interested in Tribune.

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