TV Corps’ 3Q Results: A Mixed Bag of Ad Gains, Subscriber Losses

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NEW YORK – Major TV corporations’ results for the third quarter were a mixed bag of slight ad gains, some revenue gains, and subscriber losses.

Discovery Communications’ third-quarter advertising rose by modest single-digit percentage hikes, as expected – but this came amid further loss of U.S. subscribers compared to previous periods.

Total U.S. Discovery channel subscribers were down 5 percent in the period, versus a 4-percent drop in the second quarter, and a 3-percent decline in the first quarter.

Scripps Networks Interactive, which is in the midst of an acquisition by Discovery Communications, posted a slight decline in U.S. advertising revenue in the third quarter. U.S. advertising revenues slipped 0.6 percent to $474.8 million due to lower ad viewership, as well as “an inventory mix shift in the quarter.” But Scripps had a 4.7-percent climb in U.S. networks’ distribution revenues to $203.5 million.

Its international TV networks fared better – a 13-percent gain in operating revenues and an increase in advertising revenues. Overall, Scripps gained 3 percent in revenue to $825 million – with global advertising up 2 percent to $567.4 million and distribution fees adding 5.1 percent to $233.1 million.

Scripps posted a 10.3-percent decline in net income to $163 million. The company says the decline was the result of merger-related expenses, higher marketing costs, an increase in cost of investments in programming, and lower foreign-currency transaction gains.

AMC Networks posted better-than-expected advertising gains in the third quarter. The company includes AMC, Sundance Channel, BBC America, WE tv, and IFC Films.

Third-quarter ad revenues grew 4.5 percent to $198 million – higher than analysts estimated. This came with lower viewership delivery for advertisers. In its eighth season, the network’s “Walking Dead” franchise ratings have declined from previous seasons.

Distribution revenues increased 2.1 percent to $344 million. At the same time, AMC said there was a drop in content licensing revenues, due to the availability of certain programming. Overall, its national TV network revenues improved 3 percent to $541 million.

International revenues for the third quarter of 2017 decreased $1 million to $113 million, mostly from the the absence of the AMC's Amsterdam-based media logistics facility. There was an increase in revenues in its international programming networks. AMC Networks net income soared 33 percent to $87 million. Overall revenues rose 2.1 percent to $648 million.

And TiVo, formerly Rovi Corp., enjoyed strong revenue gains in the third quarter. The interactive program guide/DVR company reported a 29-percent gain to $197.9 million. Much of this came from higher revenues due to the closing of the TiVo deal in September 2016.

In April 2016, Rovi, the interactive electronic guide company, acquired the DVR set-top box/TV research company for $3 billion – and adopted the TiVo name.

For the third quarter, TiVo posted a $17 million net loss, compared to net income of $49.9 million in third-quarter 2016. That year-ago period included an $83.4 million tax benefit.

For fiscal year 2017, the company expects a revenue range of $810 million to $830 million, which includes about $35 million of hardware revenues.  Globally, some 23 million subscriber TV homes use TiVo's television technology.

Recently, TiVo said it struck a deal with Discovery Communications to use TiVo’s Audience Works for Marketing platform to manage and execute Discovery’s on-air promotions and cross-channel media plans.

Earlier this year, Sony struck a deal to license TiVo and Rovi patents, which allowed customers of Sony to access TiVo's entertainment metadata and other products.