The onslaught of political ads on television during the recall election of Gov. Scott Walker, the presidential campaign and the U.S. Senate race provided a major boost for Milwaukee-based Journal Communications Inc. The company today reported a significant increase in earnings and revenues for its fiscal fourth quarter, and for its 2012 fiscal year.
“Journal Communications posted excellent results in the fourth quarter…led by political spending in the broadcast group,” said Steven Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Journal Communications. The company had “record political advertising revenue in 2012,”
Journal Communications reported fourth quarter net income of $15.1 million, up 83.6 percent from $8.2 million in the previous fourth quarter. Operating earnings for the quarter were $27.2 million, up 91.9 percent.
For the entire fiscal year, the company reported net income of $33.3 million, up 50.2 percent from $22.2 million in fiscal 2011. Operating earnings for the year were $60 million, up 50.8 percent.
Total revenue for the fourth quarter was $124.5 million, up 31 percent from $95 million in the previous fiscal fourth quarter. Total revenue for all of fiscal 2012 was $400 million, up 12.1 percent from $356.8 million in fiscal 2011.
Broadcast revenue increased 52.9 percent to $77.9 million in the fourth quarter and 26.6 percent to $235.6 million for the full years. Total political revenue in the fourth quarter increased 46.6 percent and increased 24.9 percent for the full year. Operating earnings for the company’s broadcast segment was up 141.6 percent to $23.4 million in the fourth quarter, and up 81.4 percent to $56.2 million for the full year.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a strong fourth quarter, but its performance for all of 2012 was down compared to 2011. Revenue for the newspaper was up 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter to $41.5 million, but revenue for the full year was down 1.3 percent to $143.6 million. The newspaper’s operating earnings were up 8.5 percent in the fourth quarter to $6.2 million, but for the full year operating earnings were down 22.7 percent to $11 million.