What earnings reports have revealed about ads

Here are highlights of recent quarterly earnings reports from selected Internet and media companies and what they say about the state of spending on advertising:

Oct. 13: Google Inc. says advertising revenue grew 33 percent to $9.3 billion during the third quarter, thanks to the reach of its search engine and the effectiveness of its ads. After subtracting commissions, net revenue growth was 37 percent. The growth comes despite mounting worries about the economy. Google got 96 percent of its revenue from advertising that quarter.

Oct. 17: Gannett Co. says advertising revenue in its publishing businesses fell 8.5 percent to $592 million. Digital revenue in that unit grew, but it’s not large enough to offset declines in print advertising.

Oct. 18: Yahoo Inc. says revenue for display and search ads fell 28 percent to $969 million. Search ads dropped 44 percent as Yahoo started sharing revenue with Microsoft Corp. under a long-term partnership in which Microsoft runs Yahoo’s search engine. Overall revenue after commissions fell 5 percent.

Omnicom Group Inc., which owns marketing agencies, says earnings rose 16 percent, mostly driven by higher international revenue.

Oct. 20: The New York Times Co. says advertising revenue at its newspaper properties fell 7 percent, hurt by a 10 percent drop in print ad revenue. Total advertising revenue, which includes the Times’ newspaper properties, About.com and other Web properties, fell nearly 9 percent.

Microsoft Corp.’s online division, which includes search and advertising, lost $494 million in the latest quarter, down from $558 million at the same time last year. Online revenue rose 19 percent to $625 million. Online ad revenue grew 21 percent to $572 million.

Oct. 21: McClatchy Co says advertising revenue declined 10 percent to $224 million. Digital advertising revenue fell slightly — less than half of a percent — but that’s because the company bundles some digital ads with print ads. Standalone digital revenue increased 9 percent. Digital advertising now represents 21 percent of McClatchy’s total advertising revenue, up from 19 percent in the third quarter of 2010.

Oct. 28: Ad agency giant Interpublic Group of Cos. says revenue grew 11 percent to $1.73 billion, better than the $1.65 billion expected by analysts. The company says that despite economic uncertainty, it is set to meet or surpass its target for revenue growth of 4 percent to 5 percent for the year, excluding any acquisitions.

WPP Group PLC, another owner of ad agencies, says it has seen strength in most regions except the U.S. There, third-quarter revenue grew less than 5 percent after adjusting for changing currency-exchange rates. In the second quarter, it had been 6 percent.

Nov. 2: Time Warner Inc. says advertising revenue grew 9 percent, or $74 million, in its networks division, which includes cable channels CNN and TBS. The company credits growth in international networks and strong pricing domestically. Advertising revenue in the magazine division fell 3 percent, or $16 million, in part because it transferred operations of SI.com and Golf.com to another division.

AOL Inc. says revenue declined, but not as deeply as Wall Street expected, because of an 8 percent increase in advertising revenue to $318 million. AOL credits higher third-party network ads and global display advertising revenue. That’s a closely watched metric because it is more profitable than the third-party ad business.

Comcast Corp. says advertising revenue at its cable TV networks, which include CNBC, Bravo and Syfy, grew 9.5 percent in the latest quarter. However, various businesses at Comcast, including local NBC TV stations, saw political advertising revenue drop.

News Corp. says advertising revenue at its domestic pay TV channels such as FX grew 13 percent in the quarter. Advertising revenue at international cable channels grew 23 percent, with particularly strong performance in India and Latin America. Ad revenue grew at its Fox broadcast network, offset by lower political advertising at local stations. News Corp. says ad revenue at local stations in the current quarter will be down 10 percent from a year ago, but flat when excluding last year’s bump in political ad spending.

Nov. 3: CBS Corp. says advertising revenue held steady. Gains at its CBS network in prime time and at the company’s outdoor billboards in the Americas helped offset lower political ad spending. Overall ad revenue was flat at $2 billion. Excluding political ads, CBS said local ad revenue was up in the third quarter and was increasing at the same pace so far in the current quarter. TV stations saw improvements in financial services and domestic auto ads.

Nov. 4: The Washington Post Co. says print advertising revenue at its flagship newspaper fell 20 percent to $57.6 million, largely due to reductions in classified, zoned and general advertising. Revenue generated by the company’s newspaper online publishing businesses fell 14 percent to $23.3 million.

Thursday: Viacom Inc.’s TV networks saw revenue rise 8 percent, to $2.3 billion, driven by increases in advertising and fees paid by cable and satellite-TV companies. Both worldwide and domestic advertising revenue grew 7 percent.

The Walt Disney Co. says higher rates helped ad revenue grow 7 percent at ESPN when excluding the effect of the World Cup last year. Ad revenue at its TV stations was down 11 percent, but excluding the bump in political ad spending last year and the recent sale of two stations, local ad revenue was up in the single-digit percentages.

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