TEGNA says cable, satellite fees topped ad revenue again

(Logo: TEGNA/Handout; Graphic: The Desk)

Revenue from agreements with cable and satellite operators outpaced advertisement revenue for at least the second straight quarter at broadcaster TEGNA, the company affirmed this week.

As part of its quarterly earnings report, TEGNA said carriage fee revenue — which it reports as “subscription” — increased to $377.4 million for the three-month period ending September 30, a year-over-year increase of 2.4 percent compared to last year, but down from the $389 million reported last quarter.

Advertising and marketing service revenue was reported at $320.8 million, a year-over-year drop of 11 percent, which the company said was attributable to a lack of Olympic events this year as well as increased ad inventory earned for political commercials. Political revenue, which is reported separately by TEGNA, grew to $92.9 million for the quarter, a significant increase from the $50.9 million reported last quarter.

Overall revenue for the quarter was reported at just over $803 million, a 6.2 percent increase compared to this time last year.

In May, The Desk reported carriage fees TEGNA charges to cable and satellite customers had overtaken traditional advertisements as the biggest source of revenue for its local stations. The report followed TEGNA’s carriage disputes with satellite and streaming company Dish Network and cable company Mediacom over fees paid to TEGNA for rebroadcast rights of their free-to-air local stations.

TEGNA is currently in the process of being acquired by asset management group Standard General through a deal valued at $8.6 billion plus debt. The deal is being closely scrutinized by federal regulators, including officials at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on antitrust grounds and other matters.

TEGNA owns more than 60 local broadcast stations in 51 regional territories across the country.