Four station groups reported a mixed bag of third-quarter financial results last week that was largely attributed to the amount of political advertising garnered in the period.
The biggest beneficiary of the political advertising spending appeared to be Hearst-Argyle Television, which said it booked $22.1 million in political ads, which helped the group post a 16 percent jump in revenue to $194 million, and a 32 percent rise in profit to $30.4 million.
Meredith Corp., the publishing company that also owns 13 television stations, reported that its stations booked $6.4 million in political advertising spending in its fiscal 2005 first quarter, which helped the broadcasting group drive up revenue 11 percent to $73.3 million. That enabled the overall company to report a 6 percent rise in revenue to $288.9 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, while profit jumped 35 percent to $25.6 million.
LIN TV Corp. said it, too, benefited from $7 million in political advertising spending, though the third-quarter number fell short of LIN’s earlier projections. Still, it was enough to help the company post an 8 percent increase in revenue to $91 million, while third-quarter profit soared more than 170 percent to $14.8 million.
Meanwhile, Tribune, whose WB-affiliated stations attract fewer political dollars, reported flat revenue and operating profit for its broadcast and entertainment group, which compounded an already weak quarter. Overall, Tribune reported a 33 percent decline in third-quarter profit to $119.6 million, while profit rose 2 percent to $1.4 billion.