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3 items from 2015

Tribune Media Posts Strong Q4, Full-Year Results

6 March 2015 7:24 AM, PST | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Rising retransmission consent fees and political advertising gains powered Tribune Media’s strong fourth-quarter and full-year earnings.

The company said Friday it would declare a special cash dividend of $6.73 per share next month for a total of $650 million, most of which will go to private equity firms that converted the company’s debt to equity after Tribune emerged from bankruptcy. Tribune also said it expects to a pay a regular quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share starting with the second quarter of his year.

For the fourth quarter, Tribune posted net income of $315 million on revenue of $553 million. Retransmission consent payments from MVPDs for Tribune’s 42 TV stations jumped 68% from a year ago to $58.4 million, thanks to improved rates across Tribune’s enlarged station group. Advertising sales at the stations climbed 13% to $381.4 million on the back of political ad gains even as core advertising sales ebbed $7.7 million or 2.4% year-over-year.

Tribune, »

- Cynthia Littleton

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Tribune Chief Peter Liguori Talks 2016 Political Ad Bonanza, CW Relationship

2 March 2015 7:59 PM, PST | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Tribune Media CEO Peter Liguori can’t wait for the 2016 presidential race to begin in earnest.

Tribune’s local TV stations raked in about $150 million-$155 million in political advertising dollars during the 2012 presidential election cycle. “We’re going to crush that number in 2016,” Liguori told the crowd Monday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom investor conference in San Francisco.

Part of the reason for Liguori’s confidence is that Tribune’s station group has nearly doubled in size since 2012, thanks to its 2013 acquisition of Local TV LLC. The group of 42 stations now includes multiple outlets in 13 key swing states such as Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

“We’re going to have two rounds of robust advertising” during the campaign cycle, Liguori said. “In some of those markets we have three stations. (Spending) in California could approach $1 billion. We’re going to take advantage of that.”

Liguori also talked up »

- Cynthia Littleton

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CW’s ‘Flash': Ratings Gains, Kudos Buzz Drives Net’s New Momentum

10 January 2015 12:25 PM, PST | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

The lightning strike that turned Barry Allen into the Flash has rubbed off on the CW.

The network that had endured a long slump comes to the Television Critics Assn. on Sunday with newfound sizzle and respect. The CW has ratings growth to tout — thank you “Flash” and “Arrow” — and traction in the prestige-tv arena with the plucky “Jane the Virgin.”

“It’s been a long process,” said CW prexy Mark Pedowitz. “We’ve had a strategy and we’ve stuck to that strategy.”

The signs of a turnaround are coming none too soon for the broadcast network that will mark its 10th anniversary next year. The CW faced the possibility of affiliate defections had the ratings slide continued and its programming remained narrowly tailored for a young female audience.

“There’s no question that affiliates felt we were too niche of a network,” Pedowitz acknowledged.

The CW’s affiliation pact with Tribune Broadcasting, »

- Cynthia Littleton

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