Meredith 2Q TV Station Revenue Down 20 Percent

Shares of Meredith Corp. (NYSE: MDP) dipped this morning after the company reported that fiscal 2Q profits were down around 65 percent compared to the same quarter last year. The Des Moines, Iowa, multimedia company posted net income of $12.5 million for the three months ending Dec. 31, compared to $36 million a year ago. Total revenues were $366 million compared to $396 million a year ago, a decline of 8 percent. Meredith took a $16 million charge in the quarter for layoffs, closing a magazine and moving certain operations.

The company’s 12 TV stations generated $84 million in the quarter compared to $88 million a year ago. Operating profit was $22 million compared to $28 million a year ago. Political advertising contributed $17 million to the results compared to $1 million last year.

TV revenues were particularly hard hit by the trouble auto industry. Ad spending by the sector dropped 40 percent during the company’s second fiscal quarter of 2009, and is tracking at an overall 70 percent decline. A retrans deal was struck with Comcast, Meredith’s largest carrier, during the quarter, but correlative figures were not disclosed. The strategy to shore up continuing broadcast revenues through the ad crunch include retrans contracts, development in company’s video production business and an aggressive local news strategy.

Share of Meredith opened at $18.75 and dipped as low as $17.30 within the first hour of trading, before rebounding to around $17.70 mid-morning.