The Des Moines-based Meredith Corporation — publisher of Better Homes and Gardens magazine — saw its third-quarter earnings drop by 45 percent, but that was better than traders expected and the price of Meredith stock soared.
The company owns magazines, like Ladies Home Journal, as well as television stations and saw its revenue in January, February and March fall 14 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Stephen Lacey, the company’s chief executive officer, says ad revenue on Meredith’s broadcast side was down 31 percent.
"The largest declines were in automotive, traditionally the number one category for local broadcasters," he says. "Auto advertising was down about 55 percent." Advertising sales in Meredith’s publishing division dropped 12 percent compared to the third-quarter of last year.
"That’s an improvement over the two preceeding quarters of fiscal ’09 which saw decreases of 17 and 19 percent respectively," he says. Earlier this year, Meredith laid off 250 employees and stopped publishing Country Home magazine. Those moves helped the company report net earnings of 25 million for the just-concluded quarter, and the price of Meredith’s stock jumped significantly Wednesday.
Meredith publishes 23 magazines which are available through subscription, including Family Circle, Parents and Successful Farming magazines.