Meredith Reports Strong Fiscal 2011 First Quarter Earnings Growth

Television and digital advertising revenue growth drives earnings per share increase of 40 percent

Oct 26, 2010, 08:00 ET from Meredith Corporation

DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP), the leading media and marketing company serving American women, today reported that fiscal 2011 first quarter earnings per share increased 40 percent to $0.56, compared to $0.40 in the year-ago period.  Revenues rose 4 percent to $344 million.

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Fiscal 2011 first quarter highlights included:

  • A 7 percent increase in total Company advertising revenues;
  • Television spot advertising revenue growth of 27 percent, including $12 million in net political advertising and an 8 percent increase in non-political advertising;
  • Higher magazine net advertising revenues per page, and more than 20 percent growth in online revenues across Meredith's national websites;
  • Strong revenue growth from businesses not dependent on advertising including Meredith Integrated Marketing (+7 percent) and Brand Licensing (+17 percent); and
  • A decline in total Company expenses, even with increased investment in emerging media platforms, including mobile and eTablets.

"We're off to a great start in fiscal 2011, with first quarter profit growth of 40 percent driven by record demand for political advertising, as well as strong non-political advertising growth at our Local Media Group properties," said Meredith Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen M. Lacy.  "At the same time, our National Media Group increased magazine advertising rates per page, grew digital advertising revenues, and posted strong revenue growth in businesses not dependent on advertising.  We also reduced total company expenses 1 percent, on top of an 8 percent decline in the year-ago period."

OPERATING DETAIL

LOCAL MEDIA GROUP

Fiscal 2011 first quarter Local Media Group operating profit rose significantly to $17 million from $2 million in the year-ago period.  Revenues rose 25 percent to $76 million.

Looking more closely at advertising performance in the first quarter of fiscal 2011:

  • Political advertising revenues were $12 million, a record high for a Meredith fiscal first quarter, led by strong political spending in the Hartford, Las Vegas and Nashville markets.
  • Non-political revenues rose 8 percent to $58 million.  Performance was particularly strong at Meredith's stations in Hartford, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
  • Eight of Meredith's 10-largest non-political advertising categories grew revenues, led by automotive, retail and media-related advertisers.

"At Meredith, we continue to deliver strong advertising revenue growth, including the development and successful execution of innovative sales programs targeting non-traditional local television advertisers," Lacy said.  "Local broadcast television remains the most effective way for advertisers to efficiently reach large consumer audiences and drive them to retail."

Meredith delivered strong ratings during the most recent July measurement period. Of note, Meredith's:

  • CBS affiliate in Hartford was once again No. 1 in all newscasts, as well as sign-on to sign-off.
  • NBC affiliate in Nashville was No. 2 in both late news and sign-on to sign-off, and also posted growth in morning news.
  • CBS affiliates in Atlanta and Phoenix, and Fox affiliates in Greenville and Las Vegas, all grew evening news viewers.  

Meredith Video Studios fiscal 2011 first quarter revenues also grew as the daily Better syndicated television show increased its carriage to approximately 80 markets reaching nearly 60 percent of U.S. TV households.  In November, Better will launch on KCAL in Los Angeles – the nation's second-largest television market – giving the show a presence in four of the top five markets in the country.

NATIONAL MEDIA GROUP

Fiscal 2011 first quarter National Media Group operating profit rose slightly from the year-ago period to $39 million.  Revenues were $268 million, compared to $272 million in the year-ago period.

Looking more closely at fiscal 2011 first quarter advertising performance:

  • Total advertising revenues were $136 million, approximately even with the year-ago period, on higher net advertising revenue per magazine page.  Meredith was cycling against its strongest quarter of industry outperformance (nearly 30 percentage points) in the prior-year period, according to Publishers Information Bureau data.
  • Online advertising revenues increased 21 percent, led by growth in the pharmaceutical, consumer packaged goods and retail categories.  

Circulation revenues declined 4 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2011, as expected, due primarily to Meredith's strategic decision in January 2010 to reposition its Special Interest Media business.  Special Interest Media profit increased significantly in the quarter over the year-ago period as a result of the repositioning.  

Meredith continued to expand its consumer connection during the first quarter of fiscal 2011 as demonstrated by:

  • Audience gains for Meredith's measured magazines, up 3 percent according to the most recent data from Mediamark Research and Intelligence.  It currently stands at 113 million readers.
  • Traffic to Meredith's digital properties. Monthly average unique visitors across Meredith's National Media websites were 16 million and monthly page views averaged 200 million.  Monthly unique visitors from mobile devices to the new Better Homes and Gardens, Parents and Fitness mobile sites combined averaged nearly 1 million during the first full quarter of operation, while page views averaged approximately 6 million.
  • Continued expansion of the Better Homes and Gardens-branded line of home products sold at Walmart.  Today, the program encompasses approximately 2,500 SKUs, up from approximately 1,500 in the year-ago period. A new line of high-quality cookware and small appliances debuted earlier this month.

Meredith Integrated Marketing's fiscal 2011 first quarter revenues rose 7 percent.  Growth was driven by a cross-platform approach incorporating content development, CRM, digital and social capabilities for new and existing clients, including Lowe's, SunTrust Bank and Chrysler.

"The relevance of our national brands to consumers and marketers alike continues to increase," Lacy said.  "We remain focused on growing our already very strong connection to American women across multiple platforms – including print, online, mobile, social, events and licensed products sold at retail – and providing clients with innovative marketing solutions to reach their target audiences."

National Media Group fiscal 2011 first quarter operating expenses declined 2 percent as efforts to improve efficiencies continued to be realized.  

OTHER FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Meredith generated $27 million in cash flow from operations and reduced its total debt to $285 million during the first quarter of fiscal 2011.  The weighted average interest rate on Meredith's debt was 4.7 percent, and its debt-to-EBITDA ratio was 1.1 to 1 at Sept. 30, 2010.  

All earnings per share figures in the text of this release are diluted.  Both basic and diluted earnings per share can be found in the attached condensed consolidated statements of earnings.

OUTLOOK

Meredith expects fiscal 2011 second quarter earnings per share to range from $0.75 to $0.80.  Looking more closely at the second quarter of fiscal 2011 compared to the year-ago period:

  • Total Company advertising revenues are expected to increase in the low double digits.
  • Local Media Group non-political advertising revenues are expected to increase in the low- to mid-single digit range. The Company expects net political advertising revenues to range from $15-$18 million.  Depending on the strength of political advertising and its related impact on total advertising inventory, non-political advertising results may differ from management's current expectations.
  • National Media Group advertising revenues are expected to increase in the low- to mid-single digit range.

Meredith expects fiscal 2011 full year earnings per share will range from $2.50 to $2.75.  Looking more closely at full year fiscal 2011:

  • Meredith continues to face a volatile advertising environment impacted by the uncertain economic climate.
  • The Company expects high-single-digit increases in paper prices, and modest increases in postal rates.
  • Meredith continues to expect investment spending of approximately $5-6 million related to the development of the eTablet platform.

A number of uncertainties remain that may affect Meredith's outlook as stated in this press release for the second fiscal quarter and full year of fiscal 2011.  These uncertainties are referenced below under "Safe Harbor" and in certain filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

CONFERENCE CALL WEBCAST

Meredith will host a conference call on October 26, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. EDT to discuss first quarter fiscal 2011 results.  A live webcast will be accessible to the public on the Company's website, www.meredith.com, and a replay will be available for one week.  A transcript will be available within 48 hours of the call at www.meredith.com.

RATIONALE FOR USE AND ACCESS TO NON-GAAP MEASURES

Management uses and presents GAAP and non-GAAP results to evaluate and communicate the performance of the Company. Non-GAAP measures should not be construed as alternatives to GAAP measures.  EBITDA is a common supplemental measure of performance used by investors and financial analysts.  Management believes that EBITDA provides an additional analytical tool to clarify the Company's results from core operations and delineate underlying trends.  Meredith does not use EBITDA as a measure of liquidity or funds available for management's discretionary use because it includes certain contractual and non-discretionary expenditures.

Reconciliations of non-GAAP to GAAP measures are included in the attached table.  The attached condensed consolidated financial statements and reconciliation table will be made available at www.meredith.com.

SAFE HARBOR

This release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties.  These statements are based on management's current knowledge and estimates of factors affecting the Company and its operations.  Statements in this announcement that are forward-looking include, but are not limited to, the statements regarding advertising revenues, paper and postage costs and investment spending, along with the Company's earnings per share outlook for the second fiscal quarter and full year fiscal 2011.

Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated.  Factors that could adversely affect future results include, but are not limited to, downturns in national and/or local economies; a softening of the domestic advertising market; world, national or local events that could disrupt broadcast television; increased consolidation among major advertisers or other events depressing the level of advertising spending; the unexpected loss or insolvency of one or more major clients; the integration of acquired businesses; changes in consumer reading, purchasing and/or television viewing patterns; increases in paper, postage, printing, syndicated programming or other costs; changes in television network affiliation agreements; technological developments affecting products or methods of distribution; changes in government regulations affecting the Company's industries; unexpected changes in interest rates; and the consequences of acquisitions and/or dispositions.  The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

ABOUT MEREDITH CORPORATION

Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP; www.meredith.com) is the leading media and marketing company serving American women.  Meredith features multiple well-known national brands – including Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Family Circle, Ladies' Home Journal, Fitness, More and American Baby – along with local television brands in fast-growing markets.  Meredith is the industry leader in creating content in key consumer interest areas such as home, family, health and wellness and self-development.  Meredith uses multiple distribution platforms – including print, television, online, mobile and video – to give consumers content they desire and to deliver the messages of its marketing partners.  Additionally, Meredith uses its many assets to create powerful custom marketing solutions for many of the nation's top brands and companies.  Meredith has significantly added to its capabilities in this area through the acquisition of cutting-edge companies in areas such as digital, mobile, word-of-mouth, social and database marketing.

Meredith Corporation and Subsidiaries

Condensed Consolidated Statements of Earnings (Unaudited)

Three Months Ended September 30,

2010

2009

(In thousands except per share data)

Revenues

Advertising

$ 205,503

$ 191,816

Circulation

66,928

69,879

All other

71,991

70,720

Total revenues

344,422

332,415

Operating expenses

Production, distribution, and editorial

143,633

151,093

Selling, general, and administrative

143,402

139,637

Depreciation and amortization

9,787

10,103

Total operating expenses

296,822

300,833

Earnings from operations

47,600

31,582

Interest income

11

10

Interest expense

(3,522)

(5,041)

Earnings before income taxes

44,089

26,551

Income taxes

(18,382)

(8,210)

Net earnings

$   25,707

$   18,341

Basic earnings per share

$       0.57

$       0.41

Basic average shares outstanding

45,483

45,158

Diluted earnings per share

$       0.56

$       0.40

Diluted average shares outstanding

45,748

45,317

Dividends paid per share

$     0.230

$     0.225

Meredith Corporation and Subsidiaries

Segment Information (Unaudited)

Three Months Ended September 30,

2010

2009

(In thousands)

Revenues

National media group

Advertising

$ 136,180

$ 137,202

Circulation

66,928

69,879

Other revenues

65,289

64,523

Total national media group

268,397

271,604

Local media group

Non-political advertising

57,748

53,671

Political advertising

11,575

943

Other revenues

6,702

6,197

Total local media group

76,025

60,811

Total revenues

$ 344,422

$ 332,415

Operating profit

National media group

$   39,048

$   38,593

Local media group

16,728

2,400

Unallocated corporate

(8,176)

(9,411)

Income from operations

$   47,600

$   31,582

Depreciation and amortization

National media group

$     3,354

$     3,507

Local media group

5,928

6,122

Unallocated corporate

505

474

Total depreciation and amortization

$     9,787

$   10,103

EBITDA1

National media group

$   42,402

$   42,100

Local media group

22,656

8,522

Unallocated corporate

(7,671)

(8,937)

Total EBITDA1

$   57,387

$   41,685

1 EBITDA is net earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Meredith Corporation and Subsidiaries

Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets (Unaudited)

September 30,

June 30,

Assets

2010

2010

(In thousands)

Current assets

Cash and cash equivalents

$               21,663

$      48,574

Accounts receivable, net

231,960

223,630

Inventories

25,100

26,807

Current portion of subscription acquisition costs

57,607

57,917

Current portion of broadcast rights

14,985

5,423

Other current assets

16,746

19,076

Total current assets

368,061

381,427

Property, plant, and equipment

451,103

450,966

Less accumulated depreciation

(268,275)

(263,964)

Net property, plant, and equipment

182,828

187,002

Subscription acquisition costs

53,749

55,228

Broadcast rights

2,454

2,977

Other assets

53,074

59,138

Intangible assets, net

556,022

552,210

Goodwill

498,388

489,334

Total assets

$          1,714,576

$ 1,727,316

Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity

Current liabilities

Current portion of long-term debt

$               50,000

$      50,000

Current portion of long-term broadcast rights payable

18,849

9,892

Accounts payable

68,645

109,897

Accrued expenses and other liabilities

113,658

109,225

Current portion of unearned subscription revenues

161,199

159,292

Total current liabilities

412,351

438,306

Long-term debt

235,000

250,000

Long-term broadcast rights payable

8,591

8,961

Unearned subscription revenues

126,451

130,699

Deferred income taxes

122,008

114,240

Other noncurrent liabilities

104,479

96,765

Total liabilities

1,008,880

1,038,971

Shareholders' equity

Common stock

36,492

36,329

Class B stock

9,064

9,086

Additional paid-in capital

67,660

66,311

Retained earnings

619,828

604,624

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

(27,348)

(28,005)

Total shareholders' equity

705,696

688,345

Total liabilities and shareholders' equity

$          1,714,576

$ 1,727,316

Meredith Corporation and Subsidiaries

Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited)

Three Months Ended September 30,

2010

2009

(In thousands)

Net cash provided by operating activities

$ 27,122

$ 29,043

Cash flows from investing activities

Acquisitions of businesses

(25,020)

(5,124)

Additions to property, plant, and equipment

(2,910)

(8,101)

Net cash used in investing activities

(27,930)

(13,225)

Cash flows from financing activities

Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt

12,500

75,000

Repayments of long-term debt

(27,500)

(95,000)

Purchases of Company stock

(5,523)

(18)

Dividends paid

(10,503)

(10,209)

Proceeds from common stock issued

4,746

713

Excess tax benefits from share-based payments

228

67

Other

(51)

(22)

Net cash used in financing activities

(26,103)

(29,469)

Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents

(26,911)

(13,651)

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year

48,574

27,910

Cash and cash equivalents at end of year

$ 21,663

$ 14,259

Meredith Corporation and Subsidiaries

Table 1

Supplemental Disclosures Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Measures

EBITDA

Consolidated EBITDA, which is reconciled to net earnings in the following tables, is defined as net earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Segment EBITDA is a measure of segment earnings before depreciation and amortization.

Three Months Ended September 30, 2010

National Media

Local Media

Unallocated Corporate

Total

(In thousands)

Revenues

$ 268,397

$ 76,025

$                -

$ 344,422

Operating profit

$   39,048

$ 16,728

$       (8,176)

$   47,600

Depreciation and amortization

3,354

5,928

505

9,787

EBITDA

$   42,402

$ 22,656

$       (7,671)

57,387

Less:

Depreciation and amortization

(9,787)

Net interest expense

(3,511)

Income taxes

(18,382)

Net earnings

$   25,707

Segment EBITDA margin

15.8%

29.8%

Three Months Ended September 30, 2009

National Media

Local Media

Unallocated Corporate

Total

(In thousands)

Revenues

$ 271,604

$ 60,811

$                -

$ 332,415

Operating profit

$   38,593

$   2,400

$       (9,411)

$   31,582

Depreciation and amortization

3,507

6,122

474

10,103

EBITDA

$   42,100

$   8,522

$       (8,937)

41,685

Less:

Depreciation and amortization

(10,103)

Net interest expense

(5,031)

Income taxes

(8,210)

Net earnings

$   18,341

Segment EBITDA margin

15.5%

14.0%

SOURCE Meredith Corporation



RELATED LINKS

http://www.meredith.com