Time Inc. misses Wall Street’s fourth-quarter profit and sales estimates, as declines in print advertising and circulation revenue weighed down the New York-based publisher.
For the period ended Dec. 31, Time Inc. posted net income of $56 million, or 56 cents a diluted share compared with year-ago income of $17 million or 15 cents a share.
Revenues slid 1.1 percent to $867 million versus $877 million, a year earlier.
Excluding items, EPS totaled 75 cents a share, missing analysts’ estimates of 78 cents on revenue of $872.7 million.
The company said that the stronger U.S. dollar relative to the British pound had a $2 million adverse impact on revenues. So too did a 10.2 percent decline in print and other advertising revenues to $343 million versus $382 million a year earlier. Circulation revenues also slid 11.2 percent to $247 million, but digital advertising revenues expanded 62.7 percent to $166 million.
On the call to investors Thursday morning, president and chief executive officer Rich Battista said: “With a new leadership team of experienced and talented executives we expect 2017 to be a year in which many of the organizational changes are behind us and we begin to see the benefits of the new platform structure. We intend to continue growing audiences and expanding the distribution of our content across all platforms. We expect to increase the rate of growth of our profitable digital advertising business which is estimated to grow to more than $600 million of revenue in 2017 and we see a path to $1 billion over the course of our plan.”
That may be so, but print advertising revenue is still over two-thirds of Time Inc.’s business. The ceo said in order to protect the company from declines in print it has “begun executing against” its $100 million cost target, helping it to “protect print cash flows and to invest in growth drivers.”
During the Q&A portion of the call, Battista addressed the shrinking newsstand business, offering that Time Inc. “has been pragmatic about that.” Newsstand sales dipped 23.8 percent to $68 million.
As the newsstand industry declines, the ceo said Time Inc. can potentially increase its market share. He also pointed to the company’s growing bookazine business, which encompasses special issues on “celebrity deaths and the like.”
One thing that the ceo did not address is the potential sale of the company. In recent months, Time Inc. has been rumored to be mulling a sale of the company or some of its magazine titles. Meredith Corp. has been buzzed as a potential suitor, as well as a consortium led by Edgar Bronfman Jr.