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NINE MONTHS: MEREDITH CORP'S SALES EVEN WITH LAST YEAR, EARNINGS FALL 20%
Source: Meredith Corp. news release

To read the entire report click here.

Meredith Corporation (NYSE:MDP; www.meredith.com) today reported fiscal 2014 third quarter earnings per share of $0.41, compared to $0.65 in the prior-year period. Total company revenues were $367 million, compared to $370 million.

Excluding special items in both periods, fiscal 2014 third quarter earnings per share were $0.70, compared to $0.72 in the prior-year quarter.

"Growth in retransmission, circulation, and brand licensing revenues partially offset a difficult ad environment for Meredith and our media industry peers," said Meredith Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen M. Lacy.

"However, our advertising outlook is significantly better for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, with expected gains in our television and digital businesses, and improving magazine advertising trends."

Fiscal 2014 third quarter results include special items of $13 million after tax, or $0.29 per share. The special items include transaction-related expenses resulting from previously announced agreements to purchase broadcast assets; selected workforce reductions, including those associated with transitioning Ladies' Home Journal to a special interest publication and closing the Company's sales force training practice; and certain other non-cash items.

Prior-year third quarter earnings per share included a special item of $3 million after tax, or $0.07 per share, for professional fees and expenses related to a transaction that didn't materialize.

Lacy noted the following fiscal 2014 third quarter highlights compared to the prior-year period:

•Local Media Group revenues increased 14 percent to $98 million, and operating profit grew 11 percent to $27 million, both records for a fiscal third quarter. Growth was driven by increased retransmission-related revenues and strong performance from Meredith television stations in Nashville, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

•Meredith began its ownership of KMOV-TV in St. Louis, the newest addition to its broadcasting portfolio. The CBS affiliate has tremendous news and advertising sales momentum.

•National Media Group non-advertising business performance was strong, as circulation and brand licensing revenues each grew in the mid-single-digits. Growth was driven by the launch of Allrecipes magazine and initiatives to grow its rate base, along with continued strong sales of Better Homes and Gardens' licensed products at Walmart. This performance partially offset a weak advertising environment.

•Meredith continued to demonstrate its commitment to Total Shareholder Return, increasing its dividend 6 percent to $1.73 on an annualized basis, a yield of approximately 4 percent. Additionally, Meredith repurchased 200,000 shares of its stock in the third quarter, and has repurchased 1.4 million shares in the first nine months of fiscal 2014.

Fiscal 2014 nine month earnings per share were $1.61, compared to $2.00 in the prior-year period. Excluding special items in both periods, fiscal 2014 nine month earnings per share were $1.92, compared to $2.17. Meredith recorded $37 million, or $0.49 per share, less of political advertising revenues in the first nine months of fiscal 2014, as expected in an off-election year. Total revenues were approximately even at $1.1 billion for both periods.


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