Tribune Publishing Company (TPUB) unveiled its first quarter 2015 financials on Wednesday, with earnings falling below Wall Street’s projections as advertising revenue fell 5.7 percent.
Net income was down to $3 million from $12 million a year ago.
The performance fell below Wall Street’s projections on earnings and revenue. According to Yahoo Finance, the consensus estimate predicted Q1 earnings would be around $0.34 per share on revenue of 408.21M. TheStreet forecasted the same EPS. This is the second consecutive quarter the company has missed its mark on earnings.
Advertising revenue continued to fall, down 5.7 percent year-over-year, to $220 million. Net income came in at $3 million, down from $12 million the same time a year ago. Digital revenue rose to $49 million, up 6.6 percent, which excludes the impact of 2014 affiliate agreements.
The company reported earnings of $0.10 per share (EPS) on $396 million in revenue.
The company issued a 17.5 cent cash dividend on March 17th. In the first quarter, several Tribune publications earned honors: the LA Times won two Pulitzer Prizes for insightful coverage of the television industry and in feature writing; the Chicago Tribune won the Nieman Fairness Awards for two investigations.
“The first quarter of 2015 represents our second full quarter as a publicly traded company,” CEO Jack Griffin said. “Our results were in line with expectations and reflect the early initiatives of our five-point transformation plan. We also continued to make strides in re-organizing our national advertising sales efforts, integrating once-disparate print and digital teams to offer marketers the full continuum of multiplatform solutions.”
He continued to highlight the company’s strategic sourcing program.
“Our Company remains vigilantly focused on controlling costs and this is reflected in the first quarter. We also initiated a comprehensive strategic sourcing program that leverages the collective purchasing power of all of our brands. This initiative complements the extensive zero-based budgeting process that we conducted in late 2014.”
On the company’s earnings call, Griffin said they are “in line with early expectations” as a separate company from Tribune Media.
He also lauded the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun for their awards and nominations.
“This performance is in line with our newspaper industry peers,” he said about the company’s advertising revenues, pointing out the decline–5.7 percent–isn’t as high as the fourth quarter of 2014, which saw over 10 percent declines.
Griffin also spoke about the company’s pivot to digital, including gains in mobile traffic supported by new apps launched in the first quarter. Video views also jumped 35 percent in the quarter he said.