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Meredith Broadcast Revenue Down 27%

Meredith Corp. reported broadcasting operating profit of $1.3 million for its fiscal third quarter, and revenues of $57 million-the latter a 27% drop from the previous year's $78 million in the third quarter. The prior year's operating profit was $19 million.

Broadcasting advertising revenues were down 31% for the quarter, "primarily due to lower automotive spending along with weakness in the Phoenix and Las Vegas market."

Broadcasting operating costs were down 5% for the quarter. Retransmission consent revenues more than doubled from the same quarter a year ago, reported Meredith.

Overall fiscal third quarter earnings per share were $0.56 at Meredith, which owns considerable magazine properties, and revenues were $338 million. This compares to fiscal 2008 third quarter earnings per share of $0.97, and revenues of $392 million.

"The plan we proactively put in place nearly one year ago is yielding improving results across many of our businesses," said Meredith President/CEO Stephen M. Lacy. "Additionally, our careful and conservative financial management allowed us to raise our dividend 5 percent during the third quarter and further strengthen our balance sheet. We will eliminate approximately $100 million, or 20%, of our debt in fiscal 2009, and we continue to be well-positioned to make further investments in our business as strategic opportunities arise."

Meredith said the next fiscal quarter would look a lot like the last one, with advertising "pacings" down 32%.