Blog Post

Earnings: Meredith’s Profits, Revs Down

imageThe downward trend continues for women-centric media and marketing giant Meredith (NYSE: MDP), with slumping profits and revenues for Q3 in both its publishing and broadcast divisions. The company has a stable of 25 magazines (including Better Homes and Gardens and Fitness), 31 Websites and 13 television stations. For the quarter ending September 30, revenues came in at $370 million ($0.41 per share) — down nearly 8.5 percent from last year’s $404 million ($0.68 per share).

Publishing ad revenue is down, of course : Q3 ad revenues were down 18 percent — in contrast to Q307 when publishing ad revenues actually grew by 13 percent. The sinking sales dragged down overall publishing revenue, which fell by 9 percent to $330 million (from $300 million in Q307). Meanwhile, operating profit fell by 40 percent to $33 million.

Broadcast is not much better : Meredith’s broadcasting revenues came in at $70 million, down more than 6 percent from $75 million in Q307. Operating profit was $11 million, down 21 percent from the previous year.

Reduced costs — the one bright spot : CEO and President Stephen M. Lacy did highlight that the company had reduced expenses by 3 percent year-over-year, and excluding acquisitions like its pickup of healthcare marketer Big Communications, total company expenses fell by 5 percent.

More to come, including Meredith’s take on which ad markets have had the most drag on revenues and future projections.

Food, drugs, home goods ads drag mag revenue down : Cutbacks from food and beverage, prescription and non prescription drug, and home advertisers dragged magazine revenue down by more than 25 percent in Q3, but the company went after alternatives in the “non-core” categories like beauty, travel, entertainment and apparel.

Cloudy skies ahead : The economy, the ensuing ad weakness and higher paper prices will continue to impact its revenue performance through at least the coming quarter. Still, Meredith expects earnings per share to rise a bit, to between $0.47 and $0.57 in Q4.