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Townsquare Checks in With Q4 2017 Results

Radio up, decides to dump some poorly performing live events

Townsquare Media executives admit the company’s multiple-business platform is taking a toll on the company. Overall revenue for the fourth quarter 2017 was down $4.4 million or about 3.7% to a total of $114.3 million when considering all of its holdings.

The company’s live events sector, which includes Taste of Country Music Festival and The Insane Inflatable 5K, tumbled to about $22.6 million in revenue in the final quarter compared to $27.3 million generated the previous year. That’s a substantial 17.4% dip in revenue for the division that also includes North American Midway Entertainment (NAME).

However, Townsquare’s radio sector made slight gains in the quarter. The group’s radio and digital division increased advertising revenue some 0.4% in Q4 2017 and was up 5.2% when excluding political revenue.

Getting back to its live events issues, Townsquare has now concluded an extensive review of its live entertainment division and said today its findings and resulting moves will reduce complexity and volatility in that segment. Townsquare will cut the number of live events to about 350 in this year compared to 500 in 2017. They’ll take an axe to the Insane Inflatable 5K schedule, drastically whittling down its dates, according to today’s earnings presentation. The company expects revenue from the entertainment division to drop even further in 2018 due to the cut in events and continued labor issues at North American Midway Entertainment thanks to the government crackdown on HB2 visas for temporary non-agricultural workers in this country.

We learned on today’s earning’s call that co-CEOs Bill Wilson and Dhruz Prasad have visited nearly every one of Townsquare’s 67 small and mid-sized radio markets in this country, which total 317 radio stations. The pair remain convinced that the group’s local marketing offerings are on track and offer superior products and services, including Townsquare Interactive, its digital marketing solutions platform and its digital programmatic advertising platform known as Townsquare Ignite.

Prasad says radio, which contributed nearly 70% of the company’s net revenue on 2017, remains the core of Townsquare’s business. Its radio revenue grew at a clip of 1.9% for the year in 2017 and was up 3.9% for the year when you exclude the impact of less political spending compared to the presidential election year of 2016.

Townsquare, which executed an agreement to purchase WOUR(FM) in Utica, N.Y., last month, continues to brag on its digital business products. In 2017, total net revenue from digital products and solutions was just under $100 million, Wilson said on today’s earnings call. He also pointed to the company’s major “traffic system conversion” completed in 2017 that “significantly enhances revenue management.”

Every single Townsquare radio station is now compatible with smart speaker platforms operated by Amazon, Google and Apple, Wilson says.

Townsquare, which today announced a dividend for shareholders of just over $0.07 per share in an effort to begin returning value to its shareholders, reported total debt of $571.9 million at the end of 2017.