It’s been a dismal year for ad-supported businesses, but not everyone is getting hurt. A look through recent public company statements on their ad businesses shows a trend: those worst off are (a) exposed primarily to the U.S. ad market, and (b) have the most print and TV in their portfolios.
That’s double trouble for many newspaper companies, which spent much of the 90s buying up local TV stations. And it isn’t helping those with big cable TV portfolios, either — but at least those businesses also get revenue from cable subscriber fees, which remain strong for companies like Viacom.
Who’s not getting hurt? Those heavily weighted in growing, international regions. And industries benefiting from the shift of dollars away from traditional media — such as digital, search, marketing services, and PR. In other words, the global ad agencies — which have strained their balance sheets making acquisitions over the past several years. They’ve had a decidedly upbeat quarter, or at least what passes for an upbeat quarter in 2008.
- Meredith Corp. (MDP): magazine ad pages down 20%; broadcasting revenue down 8.6%.
- Martha Stewart Living (MSO): publishing revenue down 10%; total ad revenue down 6%. Q3 ad revenue trending down 15% from 2007.
- Scripps (SSP): newspaper revenue to drop 13% to 15% in Q3; spun-off cable networks (SNI) expected to be up 5% to 7% in Q3.
- Lee Enterprises (LEE): print and digital revenues dropped 10%; digital down 8% and classifieds off 26%.
- McGraw Hill (MHP): Total revenue down 2.6%, BusinessWeek down 11%, but energy trade magazines up 7.8%.
- McClatchy (MNI): advertising revenue down 16.8% in Q2; online revenue, now 11.8% of the total, were up 12.5%.
- Belo (BLC): TV station revenue down 5%, local ad revs down 6.4%, auto revenue down 10%.
- New York Times Company (NYT): advertising revenue down 11.8%, total revenue down 6%.
- Viacom (VIA): US ad sales up 1%, total sales up 2%, after steep drop-off in June. Affiliate fees are still growing double-digits, as is international.
- CBS (CBS): hasn’t reported Q2 results but TV revenue in Q1 was up 1%; political advertising will help the cause in Q2 and Q3.
- News Corp. (NWS): also hasn’t reported, but has plenty of US broadcast and cable, as well as newspapers, but it has more international assets than its peers.
Weathering the downturn:
- Interpublic Group (IPG): revenue in the US was a dismal 3.5%, but international rose 21.4%.
- Publicis: first-half organic growth was up 5.4%. Was able to capture more ad revenue in the US as it shifts away from TV, radio and print and into digital and marketing communications.
- Omnicom (OMC): revenues up 4.3% in US and 5.3 internationally. Says dollars are shifting from broadcast to online and marketing services, areas where they’ve made acquisitions in recent years.
- Comcast (CMCSA): Q2 ad revenues down 2% year-over-year; but relatively insignificant to Comcast — ad revenues are less than 5% of overall sales.