Newspaper company Gannett on Monday reported record fourth-quarter and full-year financials for its broadcasting unit amid higher political advertising and retransmission revenue.
Quarterly revenue in the broadcasting business rose 43.9 percent over the year-ago quarter to $287.5 million. Excluding an additional week that the year-ago period didn't have, revenue increased 39 percent. Broadcasting operating profit jumped 76 percent to $157.9 million.
"The increase was due primarily to a substantial increase in political advertising that leveraged a combination of strong stations and local news positions, a very good political footprint as well as optimal inventory management," Gannett said.
It also cited double-digit growth in retransmission revenue.
Gannett's TV station revenue rose 45.7 percent to $280.2 million, including $91.2 million in political ads. Retransmission revenue amounted to $29.6 million, up 38.7 percent. TV station digital revenue increased by 4.0 percent.
For 2012, broadcasting revenue rose 25.4 percent to $906 million, while operating profit jumped 46.9 percent to $443.8 million.
Gannett's total revenue was up 9.4 percent in the fourth quarter to $1.52 billion, with full-year revenue up for the first time since 2006 at $5.35 billion, a gain of 2.2 percent. Quarterly earnings fell 7.8 percent to $115.0 million, leaving full-year earnings down 5.0 percent at $475.0 million.
Based on current trends, Gannett forecast a high-single digit revenue increase in TV revenue for the first quarter. "First-quarter 2013 year-over-year comparisons will be unfavorably impacted by the absence of $5.1 million in political revenue and the move of the Super Bowl from NBC to CBS," it said.