Time Inc. Beats Earnings Expectations, Print Advertising Continues to Fall

Media company reports a nine-percent fall in revenue compared to prior year

Time Inc.
Time Inc.

Time Inc. (TIME) beat Wall Street’s projections for its first quarter earnings despite sinking revenue in print, circulation, newsstand and more.

Revenue fell to $680 million, down from $745 million a year ago. The company said the stronger U.S. dollar relative to the British pound cost it $9 million for the quarter, or eight $0.08 per share, compared to $0.68 per share the same time last year.

The performance beat Wall Street’s projections on earnings. According to Yahoo Finance, the consensus estimate predicted Q4 earnings would yield around a $0.20-per-share loss on revenue of $681 million. Zack’s had forecasted the same earnings.

Advertising revenue fell $37 million, or 9 percent, compared to the same time last year to $353 million. Print revenue shrank $38 million, or 12 percent, year-over-year to $280 million. Circulation revenue fell $20 million, or 7 percent, compared with 2014’s first quarter to $250 million. Newsstand revenue was down $9 million, or 10 percent, year-over-year, to $77 million. Digital revenue ticked up $1 million, or one percent, in the quarter.

Time Inc. declared a quarterly dividend of $0.19 per common share to stockholders on May 7th. The company also announced it has put its UK Blue Fin office up for sale.

CEO Joe Ripp commented on the company’s earnings and “re-engineering” of its business.

“Our results and financial performance reflect progress in the fundamental re-engineering of our business, and in re-positioning the company for its return to growth. At the center of that transformation are Time Inc.’s extraordinary portfolio of media brands, engaged audiences and powerful storytelling. These are allowing us to engage with the largest audiences in the company’s history. Each month, we are connecting with more than 120 million people in print, more than 120 million digitally and more than 145 million through social media. We remain confident in our plans to extend our powerful brands across platforms and into new revenue streams.”

On the company’s conference call, Ripp said he was pleased with Time Inc.’s bottomline performance and cost-saving measures in the quarter. He also highlighted the hiring of Rich Battista as the President of People and EW, complimenting his diverse experience in traditional and digital media.

TheWrap interviewed Battista after his hire.

Ripp acknowledged that although the print magazine business is likely to continue its decline, Time Inc. is committed to its brands and seeing growth in digital revenue. He noted that when the new senior management team arrived in 2013, digital revenue hadn’t grown in two years — and today, they’re seeing growth.

Ripp highlighted the healthy quarterly dividend the company pays out. He also said the company is moving away from “just selling pages” to selling “idea-centric programs.”

The CEO emphasized how Time Inc. is evolving in the consumer, marketing and revenue areas.

“We are transitioning from a circulation and rate-based-driven organization to a consumer-centric, data and audience-driven organization.”