Journal Communications Plunges 91% in 1Q

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Media company Journal Communications Inc. said Tuesday its first-quarter profit plunged 91 percent, as the year-ago period was boosted by gains from a sale. The company also saw continued publishing and broadcasting revenue declines.

But results from continuing operations met Wall Street’s expectations.

For the period ended March 30, net income tumbled to $6.7 million, or 11 cents per share, compared with $73.3 million, or $1.05 per share, in the previous year.

Income from continuing operations fell to $6.3 million, or 10 cents per share, from $8.2 million, or 12 cents per share.

The results met the expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

Prior-year results included a $65.1 million gain from the sale of Norlight Telecommunications Inc. and some clusters of its community newspapers and shoppers unit.

Quarterly revenue dropped 6 percent to $134.3 million from $143.2 million. Wall Street’s estimate was $136.1 million.

Publishing revenue slipped to $60.7 million from $66.5 million, while broadcasting revenue declined to $49.3 million from $51.7 million. Printing services revenue dipped to $16.5 million from $16.9 million.

The newspaper industry has continued to struggle as consumers and advertisers increasingly move to the Internet. Companies have tried to combat the issue by ramping up Web operations and cost control efforts.

The company said it expects second-quarter publishing revenue will be down compared to a year earlier. It cited continued classified advertising softness, partially offset by strength in interactive, commercial printing and commercial distribution at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Radio and television revenue is expected to show a modest decline in the quarter.

Aside from its daily newspaper, Journal Communications (nyse: JRN – news – people ) publishes 52 community newspapers and shoppers in Wisconsin and Florida. It also owns and runs 35 radio stations and 11 television stations in 12 states and operates an additional TV station under a local marketing agreement.

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