Tegna Reports Record Political Advertising Revenue

With a record breaking $238 million in full-year political revenue—up 50% from the last midterm elections, Tegna reported higher earnings in the third quarter.

Net income from continuing operations rose 82.9% to $92.8 million, or 43 cents a share, from $50.8 million, or 23 cents a share a year ago.

Revenues rose 16.1% to $539 million. 

Tegna said it saw $60 million in political ad spending in the third quarter, up 51% from previous midterms, and $144 for the fourth quarter, up 56%. Total political advertising topped the company’s guidance of $180 million to $200 million.

Excluding political advertising, advertising revenue fell 5%. The company said non-political advertisers were crowded out as the election approached.

Premion, Tegna’s OTT advertising service, remains on pace to reach full-year revenue guidance of $75 million, excluding political revenue.

“We continue to execute growth in shareholder value with another quarter of strong results driven by an increase in year-over-year paid subscribers, strong subscription revenue, and record political revenue,” said CEO Dave Lougee.

“Our portfolio is evolving, and we remain focused on growing these stable and profitable revenue streams. As a result, we expect the mix of high margin subscription and political revenues will comprise approximately half of our total two-year revenue beginning in 2019/2020, and a larger percentage on a rolling two-year cycle, allowing us to continue to deliver value to our shareholders, regardless of cyclical or economic conditions,” Lougee said.

Tegna said in the fourth quarter it expects revenue to increase 30% to 32%. Excluding political ads, revenue is expected to be up mid-single digits. 

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.