How's life going on the seamier side of the celebrity media business? Per David Carr's latest NYTcolumn, privately held American Media, parent of the National Enquirer and other celebrity and health titles, recently reported earnings. Turns out, the business of exposing the affairs of ex-Senators is not immune to industry trends: Revenue for the quarter ended Jun 30th fell 2 percent to $119 million, which the company attributed to a weak ad environment and a slow economy. EBITDA, a logical measure for the privately held company, fell to $32 million from $34 million, a decline of six percent. But the company argues that it's holding up better than its peers: The release states that its 3.2 percent decline in ad pages was the smallest among any publisher with more than 3,000 total ad pages. And circulation revenue was up 2 percent, so despite consumer weakness, consumers will still add a magazine to their grocery tab. Release.
More from Carr: "Decent numbers, but a massive debt overhang is demanding better performance. Early next year, $400 million comes due and if those payments cannot be made, another $500 million will come due. With almost $1 billion in debt and a declining subscription-based tabloid business, the dream of taking the company public seems very distant...In fact, the debt is so far under water that no analyst I spoke to was paying close attention to it, and therefore none would speak on the record. 'They don't have a lot of options,' said one media investment banker who followed the company in the past. 'They can walk away, or they can sell assets. There will not be another big refinancing. They are pretty much at the end of the line.'"
By Joseph Weisenthal