There’s more encouraging news on the local TV ad sales front, as two more broadcasters reported healthy quarterly revenue growth in advance of cable company earnings results that begin this week.
Belo, with 20 stations, said second quarter revenue rose 7% from a year ago, to $178 million, thanks partly to rising “core spot revenue in many of the company’s markets,” according to President and CEO Dunia Shive. Although national business was down, local sales growth tracks with earlier Q2 reports from broadcasters Gannett and Media General.
Iowa-based Meredith Corp. also clocked in with similar numbers, reporting revenue from its local station group rose 9% in the latest quarter, reflecting gains in both political and non-political categories.
Broadcasters represent a telling barometer for the health of the local TV marketplace at large, given that the large majority of their revenue comes from commercial time sales. (The remainder reflects ad sales across new media platforms such as station websites plus retransmission fees paid by cable companies.)
Meredith said non-political advertising revenues for the three months ending June 30 grew 6 percent to $69 million, the 11th-straight quarter of year-over-year improvement. Political advertising revenues for Meredith’s 12 TV stations were $3 million, compared to $1 million in the prior-year period.
Among rising categories were automotive – a good sign there for local cable – and professional services, according to Meredith Local Media Group President Paul Karpowicz.
Cable’s Q2 earnings season kicks off Wednesday morning as Comcast reports results for the April-June period. Time Warner Cable follows on Thursday. Based on healthier indicators from broadcasters plus a growing political contribution, we expect year-over-year quarterly ad sales growth of 7-10% for cable’s large, publicly held companies.
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