Meredith Reports Fiscal 2020 First Quarter Results

Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP; meredith.com) – the leading media and marketing company with national brands serving 185 million Americans including 115 million unduplicated American women and nearly 90 percent of U.S. millennial women; 150 million digital monthly unique visitors; a paid subscription base of 42 million; and 30 million viewers via 17 local television stations in fast-growing markets – today reported fiscal 2020 first quarter results:

•Total Company revenues from continuing operations were $725 million, compared to the prior year of $774 million. The prior year included $33 million more of cyclical high-margin political spot advertising in Meredith’s Local Media Group.
•Earnings from continuing operations, which included special items in both periods, were $12 million, compared to $16 million. Meredith recorded $9 million of net after-tax special items in the first quarter of fiscal 2020, primarily related to restructuring and integration costs. The loss per share from continuing operations was $0.17 compared to a loss per share of $0.07.
•Excluding special items, earnings from continuing operations were $21 million, compared to $30 million. Earnings per share from continuing operations were $0.03 compared to $0.22. (See Tables 1-2 for supplemental disclosures regarding non-GAAP financial measures.)
•Adjusted EBITDA was $122 million, compared to $143 million in the prior year. The prior year included $33 million more of adjusted EBITDA contribution related to cyclical political advertising. Adjusted earnings per share were $0.99.

“Our Local Media Group delivered record revenue for a first quarter in a non-political year, driven by growth in non-political related advertising and consumer revenues,” said Meredith Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Harty. “Our National Media Group results reflect advertising performance which met our long-term expectations on a comparable basis, including high-single digit growth in digital advertising revenues. We also continued our track record of strong expense control. These factors helped drive a 55 percent increase in National Media Group operating profit in the quarter.”

Looking more closely at Meredith’s fiscal 2020 first quarter:
•National Media Group revenues were $533 million. Operating profit was $28 million, compared to $18 million in the prior year. Excluding special items, operating profit was $41 million. Adjusted EBITDA was a fiscal first quarter record $91 million, compared to $88 million in the prior year. (See tables 1-2 for supplemental disclosures regarding non-GAAP financial measures.)
•Local Media Group revenues were $193 million. Operating profit was $38 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $49 million.
•Total Company digital advertising revenues were a fiscal first quarter record. National Media Group digital advertising revenues grew 8 percent and accounted for 34 percent of total National Media Group advertising revenues, up from 30 percent in the prior year. Local Media Group digital advertising revenues also increased 8 percent.

While Total Company adjusted EBITDA was within the outlook range Meredith previously communicated, the protracted retransmission dispute with DISH Network negatively impacted Local Media Group performance during the first quarter of fiscal 2020. However, Meredith expects to more than offset those revenues over the term of the multi-year agreement.

Fiscal 2020 first quarter National Media Group operating profit increased 55 percent to $28 million. Excluding special items, operating profit was $41 million, up from $32 million, and adjusted EBITDA was $91 million, up from $88 million. Revenues were $533 million. (See Tables 1-2 for supplemental disclosures regarding non-GAAP financial measures.)

Looking more closely at fiscal 2020 first quarter performance compared to the prior year:
•Total advertising related revenues were $271 million, down in the mid-single digits.
•Digital advertising revenues grew 8 percent, driven by growth in Meredith’s programmatic platform.
•Print advertising revenues were down in the low-teens. Meredith has made changes to its portfolio including transitioning Coastal Living and Traditional Home to premium newsstand titles; merging Cooking Light into Meredith’s popular EatingWell title; and closing the MONEY and Martha Stewart Weddings magazines.
•On a comparable basis, print advertising performance was down in the mid-single digits compared to the prior year, in-line with Meredith’s historical performance. The EatingWell, Southern Living, Real Simple and InStyle brands all generated growth in print advertising.
•Consumer related revenues were $244 million, compared to $254 million. Results reflect the portfolio changes described above.
•Expenses declined 7 percent as Meredith continued to realize savings related to the acquisition of Time Inc., along with ongoing expense discipline.

Meredith expects to grow revenue and profit at its National Media Group organically and through strategic acquisitions. In support of that goal, Meredith has completed or announced a series of changes to its National Media Group portfolio in fiscal 2020. These include:
• The launch of new products, including a partnership with globally recognized home renovation and interior design experts Drew and Jonathan Scott for a new lifestyle magazine expected to launch in early 2020. The Scotts are stars of the popular Property Brothers television show.
• Realignments to its portfolio to improve efficiency, including plans to transition the Rachael Ray Every Day subscription magazine to a premium newsstand title published on a quarterly basis beginning January 2020. This strategy has proven successful with other Meredith brands, including Coastal Living, Cooking Light and Traditional Home.
• Asset sales to reduce leverage, including the recent sales of the MONEY brand and Meredith’s majority interest in Viant.

“We are encouraged by advertising trends across our powerful and diversified portfolio,” said Harty. “To that point, we are currently forecasting year-over-year growth in comparable print advertising revenues for the second quarter of fiscal 2020. At the same time, we continue to innovate, be it launching a new title based on the Property Brothers; repositioning popular brands as consumer-driven newsstand products; or creating sophisticated targeted digital advertising programs for clients. Additionally, we are driving growth in our consumer driven business lines, particularly e-commerce and performance marketing, key pieces of our revenue diversification strategy.”
more detail at: https://ir.meredith.com/news-releases/press-release-details/2019/Meredith-Reports-Fiscal-2020-First-Quarter-Results/default.aspx

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