Political advertising and higher subscription revenue drove up TV station group Tegna’s fourth-quarter revenue by 35% to $938 million.
Tegna pulled in $264 million in political ad spend and $314 million in subscription revenue -- up 90% and 9%, respectively, versus the previous year's quarter period.
Subscription revenue would have been higher -- 17% -- if not for a suspension of service over DirecTV's contract renewal dispute.
At the same time, core advertising and marketing revenue was down 6% to $352 million, due to political advertising preemptions during the period.
For the year as a whole, core advertising revenues lost 4% to $1.2 billion -- primarily due to pandemic-related issues witnessed in the second quarter of 2020 by U.S. media. The company says it continues to see sequential quarterly improvement.
Premion, Tegna’s over-the-top advertising business, grew 40% to $145 million for the 2020 year. The company expects the unit to see similar revenue gains this year, due to expected increases in streaming viewing.
For the year, the company’s overall subscription revenue was 28% better to $1.3 billion -- this was higher than pre-COVID-19 estimates. This year, it expects mid-to-high teen percentage gains.
Fourth-quarter net income was three times higher than the year before to $244 million.