Three major TV station groups witnessed sharply higher political advertising in the fourth quarter, which replaced regular core-advertising schedules. That resulted in mid-single-digit percentage declines.
Tribune Media was up 82% in political ad revenue to $99.8 million, with a 4% drop in core advertising revenues to $286.9 million. Retrans and carriage fee revenues were up 13% to $158.3 million. Total revenue was 18% higher to $578.7 million.
Tegna took $140 million in political ad revenues, up 51%, with total advertising and marketing services revenue sinking 7% to $277.1 million.
Subscription/retrans fees were up 22% to $218 million. Companywide revenue grew 31% to $642 million.
E.W. Scripps had political advertising revenue of $82 million. For the year, it was $140 million -- up from $8.7 million in 2017. At the same time, there was a 8.4% sinking of core advertising. Retrans fees were 23% to $77.9 million. Total revenue grew 40% to $368 million.
Displacement of core advertising is a typical occurrence in big political advertising spending years. As a general rule, commercial TV broadcasters do not tend to preempt political ad schedules.
In early Friday morning trading, Tribune stock was flat to $46.24; Tegna was up 14% to $14.98, and Scripps was 3.5% higher to $21.89.