Tegna Reports 30% Rise in First-Quarter Earnings

(Image credit: Tegna)

Tegna reported higher first-quarter profits as its ad business showed recovered from last-year’s pandemic levels.

Net income rose 30% to $113 million, or 51 cents a share, from $86.2 million, or 39 cents a share a year ago.

As the company said when it issued preliminary results, revenue rose 6% to $727 million.

Tegna last week won a proxy battle against investor Standard General, which has criticized the company’s financial performance and strategy.

Tegna said it had record first-quarter advertising and marketing services revenues of $323 million, up 9.4% from a year ago, and noted that in an apple-to-apple comparison (excluding acquisitions) with 2019, the first quarter was up 41%.

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Subscription revenue was up 16% as retransmission rates increased while subscriber total declined. Tegna said the decline in subscribers slowed to less than 5%.

Tegna said its Premion OTT advertising unit is expected to finish the year up between 45% and 50% for the year.

For the second quarter, Tegna expects revenues to be up in the mid- to high- 20% level.

“Our final first quarter results, including projected second quarter and full-year 2021 guidance, reflect our favorable positioning for continued growth. Our record first quarter total revenue and advertising and marketing services and subscription revenues, net income, and Adjusted EBITDA are indicative of Tegna’s sustained positive momentum,” said CEO Dave Lougee.

“With the growing distribution of vaccines across the U.S., we are optimistic that the healthy advertising trends that we are seeing early in 2021 will build throughout the year. Subscriber trends have improved year-over-year to levels we have not seen since 2019, with the first quarter down less than 5%,” Lougee said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.