Journal Communications' Q4 earnings more than double to US$14.7M from year ago on boost from political campaigns that spent heavily on TV, radio ads, expects publishing revenues to decrease again in Q1

MILWAUKEE , February 15, 2011 () – Journal Communications Inc., owner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other media properties, said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net income more than doubled because of a boost from political campaigns that spent heavily on television and radio advertisements.

The company, which owns TV and radio stations in 12 states, said its broadcasting division helped make up for declines in its publishing operations, which have been losing ad dollars to free or cheaper alternatives on the Web. Along with the Journal Sentinel, the company publishes several community newspapers and shoppers in Wisconsin and Florida.

The company's net income rose $14.7 million, or 26 cents per share, in the period ended Dec. 26. That compares with earnings of $7.2 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $104 million from $96 million.

Excluding unusual items, income was 20 cents a share. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting 16 cents per share on $109 million in revenue. Analysts typically exclude one-time items from their estimates.

The company's stock rose 23 cents, or 4.6 percent, to close Tuesday at $5.29.

During the quarter, the company's broadcasting revenue rose 22 percent to $56 million, more than half of the company's total revenue. Political ads brought in $9.4 million, compared with $1.5 million a year earlier. Broadcast revenue from local and national advertisers also edged up, primarily because of an increase in automotive advertising. The company said that without the help from political ads, broadcast revenue would have risen more modestly at 5 percent.

The jump in television and radio advertising revenue was more than enough to compensate for a 5.5 percent decline in the company's publishing segment, which suffered from fewer classified and retail ads. That unit had $47 million of revenue in the fourth quarter.

In fiscal 2010, the company earned $34.4 million, or 59 cents per share, compared with $4.3 million, or 5 cents per share, in 2009.

Revenue for the year rose to $377 million from $366 million.

For the current first quarter, the company expects publishing revenues to decrease again from last year, while broadcasting revenues should rise slightly, after excluding political ads and revenue from the Olympics that aired last winter.

© 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.