Meredith Corporation Reports Fiscal 2012 Second Quarter Results
Local Media Non-Political Ad Revenue Gains 9 Percent, its Ninth-Straight Quarterly Increase
Purchase of Allrecipes.com Doubles Meredith's Digital Scale; Supports Total Shareholder Return Strategy
Jan 24, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP), the leading media and marketing company serving American women, today reported fiscal 2012 second quarter earnings per share of $0.70, compared to $0.88 in the year-ago period. Revenues were $329 million, compared to $366 million. Meredith recorded $21 million, or $0.28 per share, less of political advertising revenues in the second quarter of fiscal 2012 than in the year-ago period, which is expected in an off-election year.
"Our Local Media Group delivered an industry-leading 9 percent gain in non-political advertising revenues during the second quarter of fiscal 2012," said Meredith Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen M. Lacy. "While the advertising market remained challenging for our National Media Group, we're seeing an improving trend as we look to early calendar 2012, particularly in the food and home advertising categories."
Lacy noted Meredith's Total Shareholder Return financial strategy, announced on October 25, has been very well received by the investment community. Key elements include (1) A 50 percent annual dividend increase to $1.53 from $1.02 per share that produced yields of 5 to 6 percent during the quarter; (2) A new $100 million share repurchase authorization; and (3) Ongoing strategic investments to drive incremental revenue and profit growth over time, such as today's announcement that Meredith would acquire Allrecipes.com from The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.
The addition of Allrecipes.com, the world's No. 1 digital food site, doubles the scale of the Meredith Women's Network in terms of both audience reach and revenues. It also fulfills two of Meredith's previously stated criteria for strategic acquisitions: (1) National media brands that provide access to new audiences and advertising categories; and (2) Digital platforms that significantly increase scale. With Allrecipes.com, the Meredith Women's Network will be the No. 1 premium owned and operated website in the Women's Lifestyle Category, according to the most recent comScore data.
"Allrecipes.com significantly enhances our digital platform," Lacy said. "It increases our relevance with a large and loyal group of consumers, and strengthens our position in the marketplace by connecting advertisers with an audience of 100 million consumers. It fits perfectly with our Total Shareholder Return Strategy, adding strategic value to Meredith, and is expected to drive incremental growth in revenues, profit and free cash flow over time."
Lacy noted that Meredith has executed the following strategic initiatives since the start of fiscal 2012:
"I'm particularly pleased about the ongoing execution of our digital and video expansion strategy," said Lacy. "We've grown our audience online and on television, and we're aggressively extending our brands across tablet and mobile platforms. Digital and video are perfect complements to our leading portfolio of national brands – both for consumers and advertisers alike. We will continue to extend our reach on these platforms, and the acquisition of Allrecipes.com is our latest initiative."
For the first six months of fiscal 2012, earnings per share were $1.18, compared to $1.45 in the year-ago period. Revenues were $657 million, compared to $709 million. Meredith recorded $32 million, or $0.43 per share, less of political advertising revenues in the first six months of fiscal 2012 than in the year-ago period, which is expected in an off-election year.
LOCAL MEDIA GROUP
Fiscal 2012 second quarter Local Media Group operating profit was $27 million, compared to $39 million in the year-ago period. Total revenues were $84 million, compared to $97 million. Meredith recorded $21 million less of political advertising revenue in the second quarter of fiscal 2012 than in the year ago period, which is expected in an off-election year. Expenses declined 3 percent, helping drive an EBITDA margin of nearly 40 percent.
Looking more closely at non-political advertising performance in the second quarter of fiscal 2012, compared to the year-ago period:
"Once again we were able to drive industry-leading performance in non-political advertising revenues through our very strong connection to local viewers," Lacy said. "It was the second-best performance for a non-political second quarter in Meredith's history, and November 2011 was one of our strongest rating books in the last decade. Television continues to be the most powerful medium to deliver customers to local businesses and service providers."
Meredith television stations delivered very strong year-over-year ratings growth during the most recent November measurement period in the important adults ages 25 to 54 demographic. Of note:
Other revenues grew 31 percent in the second quarter of fiscal 2012, driven primarily by Meredith's management of Peachtree TV (WPCH-TV) in Atlanta, which began on March 28, 2011. Also, Meredith Video Studios posted solid revenue growth, driven in part by The Better Show, which aired its 1,000th episode during the quarter, and the creation of custom video content for corporate marketing clients including Kraft Foods and Kmart.
For the first six months of fiscal 2012, Local Media Group operating profit was $38 million, compared to $55 million in the year-ago period. Revenues were $154 million, compared to $173 million. Meredith recorded $32 million less of political advertising revenues in the first six months of fiscal 2012 than in the year-ago period, which is expected in an off-election year. Expenses declined 2 percent.
NATIONAL MEDIA GROUP
Fiscal 2012 second quarter National Media Group operating profit was $36 million, compared to $42 million in the year-ago period. Revenues were $244 million, compared to $268 million. Expenses decreased 8 percent.
Fiscal 2012 second quarter advertising revenues were $107 million, compared to $122 million in the year-ago period. Fiscal 2012 second-quarter weighted average net advertising revenues per magazine page increased 8 percent, due primarily to a change in mix and stronger pricing.
The advertising declines were primarily related to food and consumer packaged goods producers – who have been particularly impacted by higher commodity prices – and pharmaceutical companies – who brought fewer new drugs to market. Meredith over-indexes the industry by more than 2 to 1 in these two categories.
The home, non-prescription drug and financial services-related advertising categories each posted double-digit revenue growth during the second quarter of fiscal 2012, their second-consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth.
"We are seeing gains in food-related advertising in early calendar 2012, and we believe overall advertising performance will improve as calendar 2012 progresses," Lacy said. "Our largest clients have had time to adjust to economic conditions, and our innovative Meredith Engagement Dividend – which guarantees marketers a return on their advertising investment in Meredith magazines – is gaining traction in the marketplace. Magazine industry advertising as a whole has held up fairly well in calendar 2011, particularly in categories such as beauty and financial services, where we are expanding our efforts via multi-platform marketing programs."
Circulation revenues increased during the second quarter of fiscal 2012, driven by a gain in subscription revenues. Online orders for print magazine subscriptions nearly doubled to more than 500,000 compared to the year-ago period, due primarily to more aggressive website and email marketing programs as well as efforts to shift to online billing and renewals. Meredith is particularly focused on driving online subscriptions and paperless transactions because of cost saving and up-selling opportunities.
Meredith's brands continued their strong engagement with American consumers in the second quarter of fiscal 2012 compared to the prior-year period, as demonstrated by:
Fiscal 2012 second quarter other revenues were $73 million, compared to $82 million in the year-ago period. Results were primarily due to select clients within Meredith Xcelerated Marketing that scaled back programs for the same commodity-related reasons that impacted advertising results earlier in calendar 2011. Meredith Xcelerated Marketing's programs are typically long-term in nature, and its results typically lag shorter-term changes in economic conditions.
For the first six months of fiscal 2012, National Media Group operating profit was $72 million, compared to $82 million in the year-ago period. Revenues were $503 million, compared to $535 million. Expenses decreased 5 percent.
OTHER FINANCIAL INFORMATION
For the trailing 12 month period ended December 31, 2011, Meredith:
In addition, total Company expenses declined 7 percent in the second quarter of fiscal 2012, the sixth consecutive sequential quarter of year-over-year expense reductions. For the first half of fiscal 2012, total Company expenses declined 4 percent, compared to the year-ago period.
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.
Looking at the third quarter of fiscal 2012, compared to the year-ago period:
Meredith currently expects fiscal 2012 third quarter earnings per share to range from $0.65 to $0.70. Meredith expects fiscal 2012 earnings per share to range from $2.55 to $2.75. Both estimates exclude the anticipated effects of the acquisition of Allrecipes.com, as noted in the press release that Meredith issued earlier today.
A number of uncertainties remain that may affect Meredith's outlook as stated in this press release for the third fiscal quarter and full year of fiscal 2012. 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 January 24, 2012 at 11 a.m. EST to discuss second quarter fiscal 2012 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 two weeks. A transcript will be available within 48 hours of the call at www.meredith.com.
RATIONALE FOR USE AND ACCESS TO NON-GAAP RESULTS
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 they include certain contractual and non-discretionary expenditures.
Reconciliations of non-GAAP to GAAP measures are included in the attached tables. The attached condensed consolidated financial statements and reconciliation tables will be made available at www.meredith.com.
This release contains certain 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 and investment spending, along with the Company's revenue and earnings per share outlook for the third fiscal quarter and full year fiscal 2012.
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, American Baby, Every Day with Rachael Ray and FamilyFun– 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, tablets, and video – to give consumers content they desire and to deliver the messages of its advertising and 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 Xcelerated Marketing has significantly added to its capabilities in recent years through the acquisition of cutting-edge companies in digital, mobile, social, healthcare, database, and international marketing. Most recently, Meredith made a strategic investment in London-based Iris Worldwide, a leader in experiential marketing.
A hallmark of Meredith's business model and financial profile is its ability to consistently generate substantial free cash flow by leveraging the strength of its multi-platform portfolio. Meredith is committed to increasing Total Shareholder Return through dividend payments, share repurchases and strategic business investments. Meredith has paid a dividend for 64 straight years and increased its dividend for 18 consecutive years.
SOURCE Meredith Corporation
For further information: CONTACT: Shareholder/Financial Analyst, Mike Lovell, Director of Investor Relations,+1-515-284-3622, Mike.Lovell@Meredith.com, or Media, Art Slusark, Vice President/Corporate Communications, +1-515-284-3404, Art.Slusark@Meredith.com