SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, DC 20549
|ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
|TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the transition period from to
Commission file number 1-6961
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)|| ||(I.R.S. Employer identification No.)|
8350 Broad Street,
|(Address of principal executive offices)|| ||(Zip Code)|
|(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, par value $1.00 per share||TGNA||The New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☒ No ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Yes ☒ No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act:
|Large Accelerated Filer|
|Accelerated filer||¨||Non-accelerated filer||¨||Smaller reporting company||☐|
|Emerging growth company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant based on the closing sales price of the registrant’s Common Stock as reported on The New York Stock Exchange on June 30, 2021, was $4,119,610,543. The registrant has no non-voting common equity. As of February 18, 2022, 221,543,635 shares of the registrant’s Common Stock were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Information pertaining to Part III of this Form 10-K is incorporated by reference to our 2022 definitive proxy statement or, if not filed within 120 days of December 31, 2021, as an amended report on Form 10-K/A filed in the same time period.
INDEX TO TEGNA INC.
Dec. 31, 2021 FORM 10-K
Our Business Overview
We are an innovative media company serving the greater good of our communities. Across platforms, we tell empowering stories, conduct impactful investigations and deliver innovative marketing services. With 64 television stations and two radio stations in 51 U.S. markets, we are the largest owner of top four network affiliates in the top 25 markets among independent station groups, reaching approximately 39% of U.S. television households. We also own leading multicast networks True Crime Network, Twist and Quest. Each television station also has a robust digital presence across online, mobile and social platforms, reaching consumers on all devices and platforms they use to consume news content. We have been consistently honored with the industry’s top awards, including Edward R. Murrow, George Polk, Alfred I. DuPont and Emmy Awards. Through TEGNA Marketing Solutions (TMS), our integrated sales and back-end fulfillment operations, we deliver results for advertisers across television, digital and over-the-top (OTT) platforms, including Premion, our OTT advertising network.
On February 22, 2022, TEGNA Inc. entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the Merger Agreement) with Teton Parent Corp., a newly formed Delaware corporation (Parent), Teton Merger Corp., a newly formed Delaware corporation and an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Parent (Merger Sub), and solely for purposes of certain provisions specified therein, other subsidiaries of Parent, certain affiliates of Standard General L.P., a Delaware limited partnership (Standard General) and CMG Media Corporation, a Delaware corporation (CMG) and certain of its subsidiaries. Parent, Merger Sub, the other subsidiaries of Parent, those affiliates of Standard General, CMG and those subsidiaries of CMG, are collectively, referred to as the “Parent Restructuring Entities.” The Merger Agreement provides, among other things and subject to the terms and conditions set forth therein, that Merger Sub will be merged with and into the Company (the Merger), with the Company continuing as the surviving corporation and as an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Parent. See Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors” and Note 12— Subsequent Event of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this report.
For additional information related to the Merger Agreement, please refer to the full text of the Merger Agreement, a copy of which was filed on February 22, 2022 as Exhibit 2.1 to our Current Report on Form 8-K.
Since early 2020, the world has been, and continues to be, impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its variants. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges including widespread economic and social change throughout the United States. At the same time, the past two years have demonstrated the strength and resiliency of our business and core strategy, and illustrated the meaningful role we play in keeping our local communities safe and informed. Throughout the pandemic TEGNA stations’ local news broadcasts have been a trusted and critical source of information for our communities. TEGNA stations reported essential information about the pandemic and its local impact, using experts to explain medical and scientific data to our audiences, in addition to providing the latest information about how to stay safe including local distribution plans for COVID-19 vaccines. TEGNA stations also were a trusted resource in helping viewers deal with the impacts of the pandemic, providing information on relief efforts and how to apply for government programs.
The impact of COVID-19 and the extent of its adverse impact on our financial and operating results will be dictated by the degree to which the pandemic continues to affect our advertising customers. This will depend on future pandemic-related developments including the severity of COVID-19 variants, disruptions to our customers’ supply chains and impacts to their advertising and marketing purchasing patterns; the effectiveness, distribution and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots, consumer confidence, and U.S. government actions to prevent and manage the virus spread, all of which are uncertain and cannot be predicted.
Our Operating Structure
We have one operating and reportable segment, which generated revenues of $3.0 billion in 2021. The primary sources of our revenues are: 1) subscription revenues, reflecting fees paid by satellite, cable, OTT (companies that deliver video content to consumers over the Internet) and telecommunications providers to carry our television signals on their systems; 2) advertising & marketing services (AMS) revenues, which include local and national non-political television advertising, digital marketing services (including Premion), and advertising on stations’ websites, tablet and mobile products and OTT apps; 3) political advertising revenues, which are driven by even-year election cycles at the local and national level (e.g. 2022, 2020, etc.) and particularly in the second half of those years; and 4) other services, such as production of programming, tower rentals and distribution of our local news content.
The advertising revenues generated by a station’s local news programs make up a significant part of its total advertising revenues. Advertising pricing is influenced by demand for advertising time. This demand is influenced by a variety of factors, including the size and demographics of the local populations, the concentration of businesses, local economic conditions, and
the popularity or ratings of the station’s programming. Almost all national advertising is placed through our centralized internal national sales force, while local advertising time is sold by each station’s own local sales force.
Our portfolio of “Big 4” NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX stations operate under long-term network affiliation agreements. Generally, a network provides programs to its affiliated television stations and the network sells commercial advertising for certain of the available advertising spots within the network programs, while our television stations sell the remaining available commercial advertising spots. Our television stations also produce local programming such as news, sports, weather, and entertainment.
Broadcast affiliates and their network partners continue to have the broadest appeal in terms of household viewership, viewing time and audience reach. The overall reach of events such as the Olympics and NFL football, along with our extensive local news and non-news programming, continues to surpass the reach in viewership of individual cable channels. Our ratings and reach are driven by the quality of programs we and our network partners produce and by the strong local connections we have to our communities, which gives us a unique position among the numerous program choices viewers have, regardless of platform.
As illustrated in the table below, our business continues to evolve toward growing recurring and highly profitable revenue streams, driven by the increasing concentration of our combined political and subscription revenue streams. As a result of the growing importance of even-year political advertising on our results, management increasingly looks at revenue trends over two-year periods. High-margin subscription and political revenues account for approximately half of our total two-year revenue, and are expected to continue to do so on future rolling two-year cycles.
|Combined Two Year Period|
|2020 - 2021||2019 - 2020|
|Advertising & Marketing Services||44 ||%||46 ||%|
|Subscription||46 ||%||}||55%||44 ||%||}||53%|
|Political||9 ||%||9 ||%|
|Other||1 ||%||1 ||%|
|Total revenues||100 ||%||100 ||%|
Subscription revenue. Subscription revenue has steadily increased in the last several years, better reflecting the value of the content that our business provides. Pursuant to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules, every three years a local television station must elect to either (1) require cable and/or direct broadcast satellite operators to carry the station’s signal or (2) require such cable and satellite operators to negotiate retransmission consent agreements to secure carriage. At present, we have retransmission consent agreements with almost all cable operators, telecommunications and satellite providers in our television stations’ markets for carriage of those stations.
Our scale and strength in local content have contributed to our ability to grow our subscription revenue beyond traditional multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) into the growing OTT (i.e., streaming) space. Distributing our content via OTT platforms allows us to reach viewers who consume content online rather than (or in addition to) via traditional television platforms, enabling us to expand our subscription revenues and deliver advertising products to a broader viewing audience.
We have OTT distribution contracts with major network partners and streaming services such as Hulu, YouTube TV and DIRECTV Stream, permitting them to carry our stations’ content. Our distribution agreements with these partners and streaming services contain financial terms similar to those in our more traditional distribution agreements with cable and satellite operators.
Affiliation agreements. We are the largest independent owner of NBC affiliated stations and third largest independent owner of CBS affiliated stations (based on TV homes reached as reported by Nielsen, September 25, 2021). During 2020, we successfully executed multi-year renewal of our affiliation agreement with NBC (extended to early 2024). In 2019, we executed multi-year renewals with CBS (extended through late 2022), ABC (extended through 2023), and Fox (extended through mid 2022).
The value we bring to advertisers. We provide our clients with data-driven integrated marketing services, using a holistic approach that puts their advertising dollars to work in the channels that make the most sense for them, regardless of the platform. We continue to expand market share in our marketing services business through our sales transformation efforts, including innovations like our centralized 360-degree marketing services agency, and a well-trained, solutions-oriented salesforce. We are also pursuing new technology initiatives that make television advertising easier to buy and are using data analytics to provide insights on consumer traffic and purchasing decisions to advertisers.
Local News. We are recognized for our journalistic excellence, innovation in reinventing local journalism in the digital age and for reporting that addresses racial injustice and/or inequality. In 2021, seven TEGNA stations won 10 National Edward R. Murrow Awards for excellence in broadcast journalism from the Radio Television Digital News Association. More than one-third of TEGNA’s 64 television stations were among recipients of 86 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, the most given to any local broadcast TV group. The regional award winners included four stations that received the highest honor for overall excellence. Seven stations won for excellence in innovation for advances that enhance the audience’s news understanding, and six received the newest honor for “outstanding advocacy journalism tackling the topic of diversity, racial injustice and/or inequality.”
Innovative content offerings to our consumers. Our trusted, local content is the driver of our success across all distribution channels. Our scale has allowed us to invest in comprehensive content and digital innovation initiatives. Our focus on data-driven editorial processes, new storytelling formats, and unique visual presentations across all our platforms are helping us to advance our goal of making our content the consumers’ first choice, regardless of platform.
We produce the daily live, multi-platform syndicated news and entertainment program “Daily Blast LIVE” (or DBL) out of KUSA in Denver. Now in its fifth year, “Daily Blast LIVE” is carried in all TEGNA markets and in select non-TEGNA markets, together covering 48% of U.S. markets. “Daily Blast LIVE” is a true multi-platform play, broadcast across linear TV, digital and social media. The program broadcasts live 5 days a week, 50 weeks per year, and streams 4.5 hours of trending news each day on YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, DailyBlastLive.com, the DBL app and TEGNA’s stations apps on Roku and Fire TV.
We own and operate entertainment brands True Crime Network, Quest and Twist, which capitalize on the rapidly growing over-the-air (OTA) and OTT television platforms. In addition to 24/7 linear broadcasts on hundreds of broadcast stations nationwide, the True Crime Network and Quest streaming apps are available on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, as well as via mobile and tablet on iOS and Android devices, Chromecast, and on the web. Each streaming service offers hundreds of free, ad-supported, on-demand episodes of high-quality shows and generate millions of ad impressions per month, sold in part in partnership with our Premion business. We also operate VAULT Studios, which develops high-quality podcast and original television programs developed from our stations’ vast library of true crime and investigative content.
Engagement across all platforms. Through websites, mobile and OTT apps we extend our local brands reaching more than 90 million visitors per month. As the consumption of content on digital platforms increases, we have continued to make investments in developing new ways of connecting with local audiences and enhancing our digital capabilities. In 2021, this included initiatives focused on expanding our digital footprint across TEGNA-owned and third-party digital and OTT platforms; the continued development of new consumer products that enhance the viewer experience or generate revenue; and expanding our coverage of local sports through the acquisition of Locked On Podcast Network.
•Expanded digital footprint: In May, TEGNA expanded its fact-checking brand VERIFY to include a dedicated website at verifythis.com, social media channels and a daily email newsletter. All TEGNA station websites also now feature a prominent VERIFY section, and in 2021 TEGNA saw nearly 5 million visitors per month to VERIFY content across our owned and operated digital properties. Additionally, VERIFY-branded accounts now have more than 200,000 followers across social platforms and email.
•Developing and enhancing consumer products: In 2021, we rolled out OTT apps for Roku and Fire TV across all of our television stations, which offer streaming viewers free, ad-supported access to live news and the most recent news broadcasts, breaking news and weather forecasts, in addition to VERIFY fact-checking reports and our live entertainment program, Daily Blast LIVE. We also began distributing our streaming content through numerous third-party partners, including Amazon’s News App and Tubi. In addition to serving consumers on a fast-growing platform, we are also able to create incremental advertising inventory that can be monetized by Premion.
•Expanding our coverage of local sports: With our acquisition of Locked On Podcast Network, we feature daily podcasts for every team across the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, along with dozens of college teams. Locked On hosts are now routinely featured as guests in our newscasts, and more than 100 Locked On shows are now offered as video on our streaming apps and through YouTube. In 2021, Locked On had more than 115 million podcast downloads and video views, an increase of 48% vs 2020.
In late 2016, we launched Premion, the industry’s first local advertising solution for OTT streaming and connected TV (CTV) platforms. We provide local, regional and national brands with an effective, turnkey solution to run brand-safe and fraud-free streaming CTV advertising campaigns in all of 210 Designated Market Areas (DMAs) in the United States. With premium inventory from 125+ branded networks, advanced targeting, and outcomes-based measurement, Premion is a highly desirable and effective way for advertisers to reach a highly engaged streaming audience, and has enabled us to expand our revenue base and reach new markets. We have built our business on local as our competitive advantage: our large, local salesforce is leveraging relationships with local and regional advertisers to sell Premion inventory to deliver scale and measurable outcomes at the local level. In 2021, we expanded our measurement capabilities to deliver advanced vertical specific attribution for multiple industries, including verified car sales for automotive advertisers and destination intelligence for travel advertisers. Premion stayed on the forefront of innovation and won four industry awards in 2021: the Tech Leadership Award for Best OTT and Streaming Technology, and the Cynopsis Model D Awards for Best Audience-Based Buying Platform, Outstanding Brand Safety Strategy and Best Direct to Consumer Campaign. Premion continues to deliver strong revenue which was up 40% in 2021 compared to 2020.
In 2020, we sold a minority ownership interest in Premion for $14.0 million to an affiliate of Gray Television (Gray). In connection with that transaction, Premion and Gray entered into a commercial arrangement under which Gray resells Premion services across all of Gray’s 113 television markets. Our TEGNA stations and Gray each have the right to independently sell Premion’s inventory in markets where we both operate a local television station. With this additional sales channel, our combined TEGNA, Gray and Premion direct sales force reaches OTT viewers in more than 78% of the U.S. households.
Advertising initiatives. We have further diversified our revenue base by investing in new business models that leverage our strong assets and scale.
•Intelligent Ad Automation. Premion has been our first investment in intelligent ad automation. Premion has partnered with MadHive (one of our strategic equity investments) to create a technology platform to aggregate inventory from OTT providers and then resell the inventory to local and regional advertisers leveraging our salesforce.
In addition to Premion, we are a member of the Television Interfaces Practices consortium of broadcasters driving standardization and interconnectivity of the automation of national spot advertising. Our centralized pricing resources are enabling stations to more effectively price their advertising inventory to maximize share. New attribution technologies are enabling our advertisers to better understand the impact their advertising has on consumer traffic and purchasing. The creation in 2019 of a new, integrated in-house national salesforce has evolved the way we serve our national customers and enables us to expand those relationships.
•Performance Marketing. We are a leading provider of digital marketing services for advertisers. We offer cross-platform, closed-loop measurement across linear television and OTT to enable local advertisers to better understand the value and effectiveness of their local TV and OTT ad campaigns. These capabilities help advertisers measure outcomes and understand the excellent return on investment that local linear and OTT advertising provides.
•Dynamic Ad Insertion. During 2021, we made significant investments to build out our Dynamic Ad Insertion capabilities. Dynamic Ad Insertion enables our stations to better monetize linear television content that is distributed across various digital platforms, such as Roku, FireTV, Tubi, News On and other OTT platforms, as well as our mobile apps and websites. It provides us with data driven targeted advertising that is incremental to the traditional linear advertising.
•NextGen TV (ATSC 3.0). In 2017, the FCC began the process of issuing rules that would permit television stations to broadcast in the new ATSC 3.0 broadcast transmissions standard, which will allow broadcasters to enhance their existing transmission services with a new standardized system that will allow us to compete directly with Internet protocols. This new standard will allow us to support higher 4K high dynamic range resolution, higher frame rate, mobile, second screen experiences, 3D audio, virtual reality, advanced advertising and other exciting enhancements to the viewing experience. The technology enables encryption and content protection that will allow broadcasters for the first time to protect their signal and to employ paywalls on certain content streams, subject to the requirement to continue broadcasting at least one stream of free over-the-air video programming. Over the past two years we have entered into channel sharing agreements with other local broadcasters in market to facilitate transition to ATSC 3.0. As of December 31, 2021, we have 17 stations that are broadcasting their primary channels in ATSC 3.0.
The proliferation of high-speed broadband to the home and phone has significantly increased competition in the video marketplace in the last decade. Today, mobile broadband covers the U.S., and a vast majority of Americans own devices that can access mobile broadband with numbers continuing to grow. Similarly, fixed, wired broadband to the home also covers a majority of the United States and is also growing.
With the rise of 5G and unlimited data plans, every screen or mobile phone is now capable of displaying video programming of the sort previously reserved to television. These video consumption patterns in the past were associated almost exclusively with younger consumers but have evolved over time to include older consumers. With the onset of ubiquitous high-speed Internet service has come an explosion of platforms and applications with video advertising capabilities that consumers have adopted. These include large players like YouTube and Facebook, and a long tail of mobile applications and services that consumers value with more being added every week.
Our company strives to capture as large a viewing audience as possible, as the number of viewers who watch our content in each DMA has a direct impact on our ability to maximize our major revenue streams: subscription revenue, advertising marketing services revenue and political revenue.
As noted above, we compete for audience share as part of an increasingly varied and competitive media landscape. We compete for advertising revenue with other platforms for television advertising media, including other broadcast stations and cable providers. We also compete against both traditional and new forms of media that offer paid advertising, including radio, newspapers, magazines, direct mail, online video, and social media. Major competitors in this space include cable providers Comcast and Charter, as well as internet platforms Google, Facebook, and YouTube. Advertisements on these digital platforms look like traditional television ads and compete with over-the-air broadcast ads in the local ad market.
With respect to subscription revenue, we compete to capture a share of the total amount MVPDs are willing to pay for the rights to distribute linear TV content to their subscribers. The larger our audience share, the more appealing our programming is to the MVPDs and the more they will be willing to pay for the right to distribute it. We compete for this revenue against other broadcast stations and cable networks. In addition, we compete for audience share from broadcast stations and cable networks
as well as companies providing/facilitating the delivery of video content via the Internet to computers, televisions, and other streaming and mobile devices (such as Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, and others),
The advertising industry is dynamic and rapidly evolving. Through their websites, our stations compete in the local electronic media space, which includes the internet or internet-enabled devices, handheld wireless devices such as mobile phones and tablets, social media platforms, digital spectrum opportunities and video streaming services. In this space, we compete for audience and advertising revenue against other local media companies, Internet advertising giants such as Google and Facebook, as well as the fragmented landscape of digital ad agencies. The technology that enables consumers to receive news and information continues to evolve as does our digital strategy.
Our Regulatory Environment
Our television and radio stations are operated under the authority of the FCC, the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Communications Act), and the rules and policies of the FCC (FCC regulations). As a result, our stations are subject to a variety of obligations, such as restrictions on the broadcast of material deemed “indecent” or “profane,” requirements to provide or pass through closed captioning for most programming, rules requiring the public disclosure of certain information about our stations’ operations, and the obligation to offer programming responsive to the needs and interests of our stations’ communities. The FCC may alter or add to these requirements, and any such changes may affect the performance of our business. Certain significant elements of the FCC’s current regulatory framework for broadcast television are described in further detail below.
Licensing. Television and radio broadcast licenses generally are granted for eight-year periods. They are renewable upon application to the FCC and usually are renewed except in rare cases in which a petition to deny, a complaint or an adverse finding as to the licensee’s qualifications results in loss of the license. We believe that our stations operate in substantial compliance with the Communications Act and FCC regulations.
Local Broadcast Ownership Restrictions. FCC regulations limit the concentration of broadcasting control and regulate network and local programming practices. The FCC is required by statute to review these rules and regulations every four years. In November 2017, the FCC adopted an order altering its regulations governing media ownership, generally making these regulations less restrictive. For example, the order eliminated the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule, which generally prohibited an entity from holding an ownership interest in a daily print newspaper and a full-power broadcast station within the same market, and the television/radio cross-ownership rule, which imposed a number of limits on the ability to own television and radio stations in the same market. The order also made common ownership of two television stations in the same market permissible in more markets so long as at least one of the commonly owned stations is not among the top four rated stations in the market at the time of acquisition, and provided for case-by-case consideration of transactions that would result in new or continued common ownership of two top four rated stations in a market. The FCC’s November 2017 ownership order also eliminated a rule making certain television joint advertising sales agreements (JSAs) attributable in calculating compliance with the ownership limits. TEGNA is not currently party to any JSAs.
Various parties, including cable operators and other advocates for more stringent broadcast ownership restrictions, opposed the changes adopted in the FCC’s November 2017 order and challenged the order in court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated and remanded the FCC’s November 2017 order effective as of November 29, 2019, thus reverting as of that date the FCC’s broadcast ownership rules to those in effect immediately prior to the November 2017 order. The U.S. Supreme Court on April 1, 2021, reversed the Third Circuit’s decision; as a result, the changes adopted in the November 2017 order were reinstated and currently are in effect. The FCC’s most recent periodic review of the local broadcast ownership rules, initiated in 2018, is ongoing.
The FCC requires the disclosure of shared services agreements (SSAs) in stations’ online public inspection files, though these agreements generally are not deemed to be attributable ownership interests. The FCC defines SSAs broadly to include a wide range of agreements between separately owned stations, including news sharing agreements and other agreements involving “station-related services.” We are party to an SSA under which our television station in Toledo, WTOL, provides certain services (not including advertising sales) to another Toledo television station owned by a third party. We are party to several other agreements involving the limited sharing of certain equipment and resources; some of these agreements may qualify as SSAs subject to disclosure.
National Broadcast Ownership Restrictions. The Communications Act includes a national ownership cap for broadcast television stations that prohibits any one person or entity from having, in the aggregate, market reach of more than 39% of all U.S. television households. FCC regulations permit stations to discount the market reach of stations that broadcast on UHF channels by 50% (the UHF discount). In December 2017, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comments on whether it can or should modify or eliminate the national ownership cap and/or the UHF discount. Our 64 television stations reach approximately 29.9% of U.S. television households when the UHF discount is applied and approximately 39.3% without the UHF discount.
Retransmission Consent. As permitted by the Communications Act and FCC rules, we require cable and satellite operators to negotiate retransmission consent agreements to retransmit our television stations’ signals. Under the applicable statutory provisions and FCC rules, such negotiations must be conducted in “good faith.” FCC rules also provide stations with certain
protections against cable and satellite operators importing duplicating network or syndicated programming broadcast by distant stations. Pay-TV interests and other parties continue to advocate for the FCC to alter or eliminate various aspects of the rules governing retransmission consent negotiations and stations’ exclusivity rights. In addition, some pay-TV operators invested in or otherwise coordinated with an online service called Locast, which asserted that it could lawfully retransmit broadcast television signals over the Internet within the applicable stations’ Nielsen DMAs - without the originating stations’ consent - under a federal Copyright Act provision that permits nonprofit organizations to retransmit broadcast television signals under certain limited circumstances. A lawsuit filed on July 31, 2019 by the Big Four television networks, among others, alleged that Locast’s service does not qualify for the claimed exemption and therefore constitutes copyright infringement. On August 31, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, and subsequently issued a permanent injunction against Locast’s operation. Locast since has permanently shut down as part of a settlement with the plaintiffs. If in the future changes to the retransmission consent and/or exclusivity rules were adopted, and/or if services such as Locast were determined to be lawful, such developments could give cable and satellite operators leverage against broadcasters in retransmission consent negotiations, which could possibly adversely impact our revenue from retransmission and advertising.
Post-Incentive Auction Repacking. In April 2017, the FCC announced the completion of a voluntary incentive auction to reallocate certain spectrum then occupied by television broadcast stations to mobile wireless broadband services, along with a related “repacking” of the television spectrum for remaining television stations. None of our stations relinquished any spectrum rights as a result of the auction. Stations in eighteen of our markets (including one station we acquired post-repack in 2020) were repacked to new channels. All of our repacked stations have completed their transitions to their new channels.
The legislation authorizing the incentive auction and repacking established a $1.75 billion fund for reimbursement of costs incurred by stations required to change channels in the repacking. Subsequent legislation enacted on March 23, 2018, appropriated an additional $1 billion for the repacking fund, of which up to $750 million may be made available to repacked full power and Class A television stations and multichannel video programming distributors. Other funds are earmarked to assist affected low power television stations, television translator stations, and FM radio stations, as well for consumer education efforts. On October 7, 2020, the FCC announced that all final invoices and supporting documentation for reimbursement requests will be due no later than (1) October 8, 2021, for full power and Class A TV stations that transitioned in Phase 5 or earlier; (2) March 22, 2022, for full power and Class A TV stations that transitioned in Phase 6 or later; and (3) September 5, 2022, for all other entities entitled to seek repacking-related reimbursements (including low power television stations and television translator stations). By law, the repacking reimbursement program will end July 3, 2023, at which point any remaining unobligated funds will be returned to the U.S. Treasury.
NextGen TV (ATSC 3.0). In November 2017, the FCC adopted an order authorizing broadcast television stations to voluntarily transition to a new technical standard, called Next Generation TV or ATSC 3.0. The new standard makes possible a variety of benefits for both broadcasters and viewers, including better sound and picture quality, hyper-localized programming including news and weather, enhanced emergency alerts, improved mobile reception, the use of targeted advertising, and more efficient use of spectrum, potentially allowing for more multicast streams to be aired on the same 6 megahertz channel. However, ATSC 3.0 is not backwards compatible with existing television equipment. To ensure continued service to all viewers, the FCC’s order authorizing ATSC 3.0 operations requires full-power television stations that transition to the new standard to continue broadcasting a signal in the existing DTV standard (known as ATSC 1.0) until the FCC phases out the requirement in a future order. The content of this simulcast signal must be substantially similar to the programming aired on the ATSC 3.0 channel for a period of at least five years. Transitioning a station to ATSC 3.0 is voluntary under current FCC rules and may require significant expenditures. As of December 31, 2021, we are broadcasting the primary channels of KGW (Portland, OR), WTSP (Tampa, FL), KUSA (Denver, CO), KING (Seattle, WA), KONG (Everett, WA), WGRZ (Buffalo, NY), KXTV (Sacramento, CA), KPNX (Mesa, AZ), WCNC (Charlotte, NC), KTHV (Little Rock, AR), WXIA (Atlanta, GA), KSDK (St. Louis, MO), WTHR (Indianapolis, IN), WTIC (Hartford, CT), WCCT (Waterbury, CT), KHOU (Houston, TX) and WUSA (Washington, DC) in both ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 formats. In each case, in accordance with FCC rules, we have entered into channel sharing agreements with other local broadcasters in the market to facilitate this transition by hosting the applicable primary channel in either ATSC 1.0 or 3.0 format. We expect to continue rolling out the new standard in coordination with other broadcasters, taking into account relevant market dynamics and our overall capital planning. To the extent we roll ATSC 3.0 service out to our stations, there can be no guarantee that such service would earn sufficient additional revenues to offset the related expenditures.
Our Environmental Regulatory Matters
We are subject to various laws and government regulations concerning environmental matters and employee safety and health. U.S. federal environmental legislation that pertains to us include the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (also known as Superfund). We are also regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) concerning employee safety and health matters. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), OSHA and other federal agencies have the authority to write regulations that have an effect on our operations.
In addition to these federal regulations, various states have authority under the federal statutes mentioned above. Many state and local governments have adopted environmental and employee safety and health laws and regulations, some of which are similar to federal requirements. State and federal authorities may seek fines and penalties for violating these laws and regulations. We believe that we have complied with such proceedings and orders at our stations without any materially adverse effect on our Consolidated Balance Sheet, Consolidated Statements of Income or Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows.
Our General Company Information
Our company was founded by Frank E. Gannett and associates in 1906 and was incorporated in 1923. We listed shares publicly for the first time in 1967 and reincorporated in Delaware in 1972. Our headquarters is located at 8350 Broad Street, Suite 2000, Tysons, VA, 22102. Our telephone number is (703) 873-6600 and our website home page is www.tegna.com. We make our website content available for information purposes only. It should not be relied upon for investment purposes, nor is it incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K (Form 10-K).
Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements for our annual stockholders’ meetings and amendments to those reports are available free of charge on our investor website, under “Investor Relations” at www.tegna.com as soon as reasonably practical after we electronically file the material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In addition, copies of our annual reports will be made available, free of charge, upon written request. The SEC also maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy statements and other information regarding SEC registrants, including TEGNA Inc.
Our Human Capital
Our people play an important role in our success in today’s rapidly evolving media landscape. Our key human capital management objectives are to attract, retain and develop the highest caliber talent in our industry. Our human resources programs are designed to support these objectives by offering competitive pay, industry-leading benefits and development and growth opportunities. We strive to foster diversity, inclusion and innovation in our culture through our human resources, diversity and journalism programs and policies. As of December 31, 2021, we employed approximately 6,200 full-time and part-time people (including 108 corporate headquarters employees), all of whom were located in the United States.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – To strengthen accountability in diversity in the governance of the Company, in 2020 the Board adopted specific areas of oversight for each Board committee regarding how TEGNA approaches diversity:
•The Leadership Development & Compensation Committee is responsible for monitoring the Company’s performance in diversity, inclusion and equal employment opportunity, supporting our commitment to these principles and the continuation of our efforts to gain and maintain diversity among our employees and management.
•The Nominating & Governance Committee is responsible for overseeing the racial, ethnic and gender diversity of the Board.
•The Public Policy and Regulatory Committee reviews with management the Company’s approach to, and initiatives and support for, promoting racial and ethnic diversity in our news and other content, through inclusive journalism and racial and ethnic diversity in our editorial decision-making and leadership.
•The Audit Committee is responsible for monitoring the Company’s finance and asset management-related diversity and inclusion efforts, including our investment and purchasing involving minority-owned businesses.
Our commitment to building a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture, continued in 2021 to progress ahead of schedule in achieving our publicly stated and quantifiable five-year Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) goals. With the support of our Board of Directors, corporate management team and station management and input from our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Working Group of employees, we are on a path to reaching our objective of being as diverse as the various communities we serve.
While we have more work to do, we are proud of our diverse workforce and inclusive culture and our aim to increase representation of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) by meeting these 2025 objectives.
|2025 Diversity and Inclusions Goals and 2021 Progress|
Content Teams: Increase the diversity of our content teams (news, digital and marketing employees) to reflect the aggregate BIPOC* diversity of the communities we serve, which is ~36%.
Content Leadership: Increase BIPOC representation in content leadership roles by 50%.
Company Leadership: Increase BIPOC representation across all management roles within the organization by 50%.
* BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
|Increase by 50%||Increase by 50%|
|On track||On track||On track|
1/1/21 - 27%
12/31/21 - 30%
↑ 11% Increase
1/1/21 - 17%
12/31/21 - 20%
↑ 18% Increase
1/1/21 - 16%
12/31/21 - 18%
↑ 13% Increase
1/1/21 - 25%
12/31/21 - 27%
↑ 8% Increase
1/1/21 - 46%
12/31/21 - 46%
1/1/21 - 45%
12/31/21 - 44%
1/1/21 - 41%
12/31/21 - 42%
1/1/21 - 47%
12/31/21 - 47%
|ASIAN||BLACK OR |
* N/A - not available or not disclosed
To support our DE&I goals, we are actively seeking diverse talent through recruiting, investing in a multiyear Inclusive Journalism program, requiring unconscious and implicit bias training of all employees, gathering regular input from our 17-member D&I Working Group led by Chief Diversity Officer Grady Tripp, and championing LGBTQ equality. We are proud that in 2021 the Human Rights Campaign named TEGNA a best place to work for LGBTQ equality for the fifth consecutive year.
Here are the five pillars that support achieving our DE&I goals and notable progress we have made in 2021:
1.Talent Pipeline and Bench Strength: Increase partnerships with diverse professional organizations, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions, and universities. Continue building on our existing internship, Producer-in-Residence, and other programs.
•Progress: In addition to our ongoing engagement and support of longstanding partners, we enhanced our relationships with such professional organizations as the T. Howard Foundation and Asian American Journalist Association. We expanded our connections with HBCUs at both the local station and the company-wide recruiting level. These relationships and a renewed focus across our company led to women and people of color comprising a majority of our participants in both our company internship program and Producer-in-Residence programs. Internally, our content leaders and talent development team enhanced our News Leadership Forum program that is tailored to emerging content leaders, of which more than half were employees of color and over two-thirds women.
2. Leadership Compensation Tied to Diversity and Inclusion Goals: Enhance our diversity and inclusion goals for key leaders in the organization.
•Progress: We delivered on our commitment to ensure that D&I goals are embedded meaningfully into both our annual performance management and our bonus processes for 2021. We also finalized our 2022 measures for key leaders.
3. Multi-Year Inclusive Journalism Program: Development and launch of customized, multi-year inclusive journalism program with expert external partners.
•Progress: Partnering with the Poynter Institute on our Inclusive Journalism program, we delivered training on unconscious bias, inclusive reporting, and leadership coaching to all 49 of our newsrooms. This training led to development of local action plans by our stations to increase our focus on accurately reflecting the entirety of the communities we serve. We also partnered with Horowitz Research to conduct an external audit of our digital, broadcast, and marketing content across all of our stations. We are fostering new ways for our newsrooms to engage and represent communities better. These include creation of Race and Culture positions and units, community days so journalists can develop relationships with underrepresented communities, external/community DE&I committees, and an employee-initiated recruiting video centered on inclusive culture.
4. Leverage Insights from Employee Feedback: Implement employee input to improve our action planning and accountability.
•Progress: Our company-wide D&I Working Group continues to provide valuable insights and contributions to our diversity and inclusion actions. The group’s focus has expanded to elevate issues, ideas, and opportunities across identities. Also, our local D&I teams at the station level continue to partner with local leaders to apply ideas that enhance inclusion at our stations. Input from these groups led to several actions, including development of an inclusive leadership interview matrix as well as establishment of local diverse interview panels, local mentoring networks, and inclusive hiring training for managers, among others.
5. Employee Training: Provide employees with ongoing resources and platforms to increase learning and discussion on D&I topics to support a culture of belonging.
•Progress: In 2021, we launched a company-wide DE&I Discovery Series that covered a different DE&I learning topic each month and sparked broad participation by station groups, with discussions often led by station leaders and local D&I groups. We also launched a partnership with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights to engage in a training series on implicit bias, microaggressions, and other DE&I topics for leaders and employees that we plan to train all employees on by mid-2022.
Serving Our People – In 2021, TEGNA was named among the Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces, an annual award that recognizes top employers displaying leadership and innovation in engaging their workplaces.
TEGNA provides a range of training and development programs that center on content leadership training, leadership development, manager training, and inside-out sales training.
•Manager Training: We invest in the continual learning and development of our managers because our leaders’ effectiveness is critical to our long-term success. Our Manager Training Program is based on TEGNA’s critical leadership skills and provides managers a targeted and progressive curriculum. The curriculum delivers content for all levels of managers depending on their experience. This program begins by providing content on foundational policies and procedures, moves to content on how to lead effectively, and then concludes with content on how managers can foster a high-performing team. In 2021, we took the first steps by training all people leaders across the company on the critical leadership skills we’ve identified. These skills include intentional decision making; adaptive strategic thinker; change leader; talent developer; and results leader.
•Leadership Development: We also reimagined the curriculum and set expectations for outcomes for our Leadership Development Programs, including our Executive Leadership Program that develops current and future general manager and vice president talent, and our Leadership in Action Program that helps develop current and future director-level talent.
•News Leadership Forum: Eager to build a diverse talent pool of next-generation news leaders, in January we launched a unique eight-month-long News Leadership Forum training program of high-performing news managers. Approximately 50% of the initial 33 participants had been promoted by year-end. A larger group is expected to complete the program in May 2022.
•Producer-in-Residence Program: Launched in 2018, the Producer-in-Residence (PIR) program has grown to one of the largest entry-level producer development programs in the industry. We search for PIR participants at major journalism schools as well as regional universities and colleges, including several historically Black institutions. The program includes a producer boot camp followed by two years of training at one of our local stations. The program has attained an approximately 80% promotion rate to a regular producer role after that period.
•Inside Out Sales Training: Within our Inside Out training, besides preparing new sellers, we provide a Managers Master Class that develops leaders of our Inside Out sales process in coaching and recruiting to foster diversity of ideas and talent. We also began an online Manager Talent Assessment and Sales Assessment resource for the sales organization that in the hiring process enables managers to be more inclusive when recruiting. We also enhanced and added more on-demand and go-to-market training resources to help sellers succeed.
In 2021, we also designed, developed, and executed two performance management training courses on giving and receiving feedback and developing S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) performance goals that were
implemented during the 2021 Performance Management process at year-end. Further, we hired a learning and development business partner to help with development and application of our Manager and Leadership Development programs into 2022 and beyond.
Championing LGBTQ Equality - For the fifth consecutive year, TEGNA was named a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality by the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. The 2021 Corporate Equality Index evaluated LGBTQ-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBTQ community. We received the highest marks in all categories, resulting in a perfect score of 100.
Employee Well-Being – Maintaining the health and well-being of our employees and their families is a top priority for our company.
In 2022, several new benefits approved in 2021 take effect:
•Family planning support: Expanded adoption reimbursement to $10,000 from $2,500 and introduced surrogacy reimbursement benefit of $10,000 to support the path to parenthood and cover family planning goals.
•Enhanced eyewear benefit: Added EyeMed’s Freedom Pass Plus coverage that allows the purchase of frames at LensCrafters or Target Optical at no out-of-pocket cost, even if it exceeds the plan’s frame allowance (some exclusions apply).
•Coverage for a group of jaw joint and muscle disorders: commonly referred to as Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), these conditions cause pain and dysfunction in jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement. These disorders are now covered by our insurance provider as a major service, providing for mouth guard coverage once every five years.
•New critical illness and accident insurance provider that provides enhanced coverage at a lower rate than the previous provider.
•For those treated for cancer or another diagnosis that causes hair loss, the reimbursement level for wigs increased to $1,000 from $500.
TEGNA provides a company-matching 401(k) Savings Plan for future financial security; work/life balance benefits through TEGNA-sponsored membership to Care@Work. We also provide other additional and optional benefits including, among others, life and disability insurance plus supplemental insurance options, virtual 24/7 telehealth access, paid time off and nine company holidays, active duty leave, caregiver leave, employee discounts, a volunteerism program, two-for-one matching gifts, and student loan refinancing and tuition reimbursement.
Employee Support During COVID-19 – Now entering the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, employee health and safety remains a top priority for us. Our COVID-19 Task Force continues to track the case numbers in our markets, remained informed on the latest CDC guidelines, and provided practical and proactive guidance that prioritized employee health and safety while sustaining business operations. We maintained a COVID-19 handbook and employee site to share updated safety protocols including mask guidelines, building safety recommendations, mental health resources and a communications toolkit.
Our leadership team held meetings throughout the year with colleagues from across the company to share updated health and safety guidelines, respond to questions raised by employees, and ensure stations had the resources and support to maintain business operations. All stations and facilities completed a COVID-19 safety scorecard identifying physical changes to their buildings that would help keep employees safe and healthy. They worked with their heads of technology to prepare their buildings for employees to return safely, including updated floor plans and workspaces that allow for social distancing, signage and touchless restroom fixtures. Stations and buildings also were provided with safety supplies, including KN95 and N95 masks and deep cleaning and sanitizing materials, so they could properly maintain clean and sanitized workspaces.
In addition to their physical health, our employees’ mental health has been a top priority. Throughout the year, we hosted mental health webinars in partnership with our employee assistance program provider. They included a webinar for employees entitled “Returning to the Office to Prepare and Adapt to the New Normal,” and, for managers, “Through the Looking Glass – Thriving in the New Normal.”
We updated our mask guidelines to reflect the CDC’s latest interim recommendations for areas with varying transmission rates. Using the CDC’s county view tool to determine their local community transmission rate, our facilities in counties identified as having substantial or high transmission could let fully vaccinated employees take their masks off while at their desks but wear their masks when walking around the building, meeting in conference rooms or having a conversation with other employees. We established that facilities within a moderate-to-low transmission rate for at least 14 business days could allow fully vaccinated employees to remove their masks while in the building. Employees not fully vaccinated continued to wear a mask at all times when in the building and to social distance.
To create the safest workplace for all employees, we requested that employees confirm their vaccination status by the end of August if they would like to continue our health and mask guidelines for fully vaccinated employees. Finding nearly nine of 10 employees were already fully vaccinated at that time, TEGNA implemented a proof of vaccine policy for all employees that went into effect in mid-November. We also had a process to review medical and religious exemptions. As a result, 95%+ of all employees have provided proof of vaccination.
Compensation and Benefits Programs – Our compensation and benefits are structured to attract the most talented people and incentivize performance based on the short and long-term strategic goals of our company. Our compensation packages include competitive base salaries, which include options for medical, dental and vision insurance, company holidays and paid time off, and parental leave. We encourage employees to invest for their future by offering a 401(k) plan that includes a company match up to four percent of salary and is fully vested from the day employees begin participating.
Labor Union Representation - Approximately 9% of our employees are represented by labor unions. They are represented by 27 local bargaining units, most of which are affiliated with one of four international unions under collective bargaining agreements. These agreements conform generally with the pattern of labor agreements in the broadcasting industry. We do not engage in industry-wide or company-wide bargaining.
Information About our Executive Officers - Our executive officers as of March 1, 2022 are listed below, with their ages on that date, positions and offices currently held, and principal occupation and business experience during at least the last five years. All officers serve at the discretion of the Board of Directors.
David T. Lougee - President and Chief Executive Officer (June 2017-present); TEGNA director (2017-present). Formerly: President, TEGNA Media (July 2007-June 2017). Age 63.
Lynn Beall (Trelstad) - Executive Vice President and COO of Media Operations (June 2017-present). Formerly: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, TEGNA Media. Age 61.
Victoria D. Harker - Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (June 2015-present). Age 57.
Akin S. Harrison - Senior Vice President and General Counsel (July 2021 - present). Formerly: Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary (January 2019 - June 2021), Senior Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Secretary (June 2017 - December 2018), Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Secretary (July 2015 - June 2017). Age 49.
Our Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability
Our enduring purpose to serve the greater good of our communities guides us, and our values – inclusion, integrity, innovation, impact and results – propel our stations and employees to be forces for positive change in the communities where we live and work. In 2021, our purpose-driven commitments to the environment, society and governance (ESG) enabled us to make measurable progress in DE&I, to complete our first-ever greenhouse gas emissions inventory, and to invest further in our people and communities. Our ESG practices help to strengthen our business while protecting and enhancing our long-term value to our shareholders and stakeholders. Our Board’s Public Policy and Regulation Committee oversees and guides our ESG practices and initiatives, and it reviews and reports on these efforts periodically to the Board. Discussing our ESG strategy and practices openly is an important part of our commitment to continually evolve our program.
Environmental Commitment – We are focused on being responsible stewards of our resources, recognizing the necessity for real progress on our planet’s environmental and sustainability challenges. We have enhanced our oversight, programs, reporting and accountability to further our commitment to minimize our carbon footprint and protect and preserve the environment.
Our stations continue to bring focus on environmental and sustainability issues across the country and the globe. They regularly report on environmental climate and sustainability issues that impact their communities and, increasingly, they are generating stories about the impacts of climate change and solutions to those effects. With significant air quality issues across the United States and record drought and wildfires throughout the West, eight of TEGNA western stations launched a series of 16 stories, entitled Scorched Earth, that investigated how drought, fire and smoke create significant health issues for humans and wildlife. They also presented the impact of new methods for fighting wildfires and new ways to ensure clean air. WUSA in Washington, D.C. closely tracked a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency and showed how the agency isn’t enforcing agreed-upon standards for a multistate clean water pact to ensure the Chesapeake Bay’s health. News Center Maine did a special on climate change in the state and explored how coastal towns adapt to rising sea levels. WFAA in Dallas produced a series that coincided with November’s United Nations Summit on Climate Change in Scotland and verified or debunked each of the top 10 claims about the climate.
In 2021, we completed a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory across our scope 1 and 2 direct operations and a relevant assessment and inventory of our indirect value chain scope 3 emissions. We are conducting a qualitative assessment of our risks from the physical impacts of climate change, as well as the risks and opportunities from a transition to a low-carbon economy, per guidance of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. We believe this assessment will improve and increase our reporting of climate-related financial information.
We have begun exploring the potential for setting a science-based target initiative (SBTi) target to reduce our contribution to global GHG emission levels. SBTi targets are the gold standard for achieving climate goals for businesses and cover greenhouse gas emission reductions, water and waste management, and energy efficiency across sites, including the use of renewable electricity.
We continued to focus on reducing business travel by using video conferencing technology across the company. We continue to apply thoughtful energy efficiency strategies, including upgrading stations’ studio lighting to LEDs; replacing in-
efficient HVAC systems, and replacing roofs with energy efficient materials. In addition, we will consider our suppliers’ ESG performance as a factor in procurement decisions.
To operate in an environmentally friendly way, our environmental policies include practices for the recycling and responsible disposal of technology products and equipment such as batteries and reducing the waste we generate at corporate offices and in production processes. We regard environmental responsiveness and resource conservation as an integral part of business management, and we support finding sound solutions to such environmental problems as any arise. Each employee is expected to work toward these goals and is encouraged to advise their supervisor promptly of any situation that may be in conflict with our environmental policy.
The TEGNA Foundation supports nonprofit activities in communities where we do business and contributes to a variety of charitable causes through its Community Grant Program. Community Grants are identified locally by our stations and include support for community sustainability efforts.
Social Impact – Exposing corruption and wrongdoing, holding elected officials and those in power accountable, giving a voice to the voiceless and telling empowering stories that impact our lives is at the heart of our purpose to serve the greater good. In 2021, our stations and news teams strove to be the most trusted sources of news in our communities and to be agents of beneficial change in the markets we serve. Our local journalists are empowered to seek out the stories that matter most to their audience and pursue investigations that expose wrongdoing while continuing to maintain the highest ethical standards.
In 2021, TEGNA stations received major journalism awards that underscore our innovative approach to content, impactful investigations and commitment to the communities we serve. We received a 2021 Walter Cronkite Award for Exceptional Reporting on Systemic Racism at KPNX in Phoenix for “The Work is Hard and Not Done: Being Black in the Valley.” KING in Seattle won a coveted Peabody Award for public service for its “Facing Race” series, and it also won a duPont-Columbia University Award, as did WFAA in Dallas. We received 86 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, including six for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and we were awarded 10 National Edward R. Murrow Awards, more than any other news organization, including for WWL in New Orleans’ “The Talk,” for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The National Association of Black Journalists honored WUSA in Washington, D.C., and WVEC in Hampton, Va., with its Salute to Excellence Award, including two won by WUSA. Winning 2021 Gracie Awards from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation were WBIR in Knoxville, WCNC in Charlotte, N.C., WKYC in Cleveland and WUSA in Washington, D.C.
Each year, our stations identify pressing needs in their communities and partner with local nonprofit organizations to help address these issues. In 2021, our stations helped raise more than $100 million in support of diverse local causes that address specific needs in communities. For example, in Dallas, the Communities Foundation of Texas’ annual 18-hour North Texas Giving Day raised $66 million from more than 283,000 donors with the assistance of WFAA in Dallas, which built awareness through public service announcements and other promotions.
Through the TEGNA Foundation, we work to improve lives in the communities we serve by contributing to a variety of local charitable causes via Community Grants. In 2021, the TEGNA Foundation in partnership with local stations made 330 Community Grants totaling $1.85 million. Grants are distributed within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal framework, with the majority of 2021 grants supporting three major categories: Good Health and Well-Being, Quality Education, and Zero Hunger. Through its other programs, the TEGNA Foundation invests in the future of the media industry through Media Grants, supports employee giving and volunteerism, and contributes to a variety of charitable causes.
Media Grants support training for the next generation of diverse journalists, education and development opportunities for journalists and other professionals in the media field, and protection of First Amendment freedoms. In 2021, we awarded $135,000 in Media Grants to 12 organizations, with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies receiving grants for two projects, including its Poynter Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Journalism and the Collective, a newspaper for and by people of color to provide strategies for getting the skills, connections, confidence, and voice needed to succeed in their newsrooms and produce the journalism that matters in their communities. Other Media Grants went to the American Bar Association Fund for Justice and Education to support the 2022 Moot Court competition; Asian American Journalists Association for its JCamp and Voices student programs; Carole Kneeland Project for Responsible Television Journalism to support boot camps, training, and online continuing education; and Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. for two FOIA sessions and the Media Journalist Brown Bag lunch session at the 2021 annual conference.
Grants also went to the National Association of Black Journalists to support a professional development session at the 2021 annual conference and to co-brand the 2021 Black Male Media Project; National Association of Hispanic Journalists for its 2021 Student Project; National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for its 2021 CONNECT: Student Journalism Training Project, a two-day virtual conference for LGBTQ student journalists; Native American Journalists Association to support its “Covering COVID-19 in Indian Country” webinar roundtable series; News Literacy Project for its Checkology Virtual Classroom Program that provides programs and resources for educators and the public; Online News Association to support student/new professional scholarships for the 2021 conference; and the Radio Television Digital News Foundation for the 2021 Student News Project.
Our employees also give back to their local communities by volunteering for and donating to their favorite causes. In 2021, the TEGNA Foundation continued to match employee donations two-for-one to the nonprofits most meaningful to them. As a result, the Foundation approved more than 3,100 employee matching gifts, a new record. More than 1,700 nonprofits were reached through TEGNA employees’ giving. Their donations combined with TEGNA Foundation matches totaled more than $2.2 million. TEGNA supports employee participation in charitable causes, providing 10 hours of paid time off annually for volunteer work in addition to our employee matching gift program.
Our stations are also a valued resource for communities when natural disasters strike. In addition to our news coverage that keeps our audience informed and safe during disasters, our stations tell inspirational stories of heroism and hope to help our communities pull together during times of crisis. Stations also help lead in fundraising when crises hit, as several did in 2021. When weather-related calamities that included a devastating fire in Colorado and deadly tornadoes in Kentucky, TEGNA stations quickly stepped in to help provide financial aid and support. In Colorado, KUSA in Denver helped drive more than $26 million in donations to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund after wildfires destroyed over 1,000 structures and KUSA anchor Kyle Clark’s Word of Thanks campaign raised more than $1 million. In Kentucky, a 90-minute virtual telethon in which six TEGNA stations participated, generated sizable Red Cross disaster-relief funds, including a $50,000 TEGNA Foundation grant. In the aftermath of a brutal and historic February 2021 storm in Texas that overwhelmed countless residents, 12 TEGNA stations led by KHOU in Houston and WFAA in Dallas promoted the Texas Cares Winter Storm Relief campaign that raised funds for United Ways of Texas. When Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana in late August 2021, leaving bayou communities hit especially hard, WWL launched a United Way Ida Relief Fund that raised $2.5 million in cash donations and $1 million of in-kind supplies.
For the second consecutive year, we were named to The Civic 50 by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. The Civic 50 recognized TEGNA as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States. We also were honored in 2021 to receive an inaugural Greater Good Award from Digiday for the COVID-19 relief efforts our stations led in their local communities.
Corporate Governance - Our management and Board of Directors aim to create value for our shareholders through effective, ethical management of our company. Our Board of Directors has implemented strong corporate governance policies that align with best practices for publicly held companies and the evolving expectations of shareholders and institutional investors.
•Independent Board Oversight: We have an independent and diverse Board, led by an independent chairman. The Board maintains objective oversight as 11 out of TEGNA’s 12 Directors are independent, with CEO Dave Lougee serving as the only TEGNA employee on the Board. The separation of the roles of Chairman and CEO allows for effective, independent Board oversight and communication, while enabling the CEO to focus on executing the strategic plan and managing operations. The Board also conducts an annual performance evaluation to ensure the effectiveness of the Board and its committees, as well as the broader Board leadership structure.
•Active, Engaged Board: Our directors spend significant time engaged in strategy discussions in order to identify potential opportunities to create value for our shareholders. The Board also oversees risk management through regular discussions with senior leadership, considering risks in the context of our strategic plan and operations. Directors play a key role in TEGNA’s extensive shareholder engagement program, which actively seeks feedback from investors to gain a better perspective on our management and performance in key areas.
•Experience Aligned with Long-Term Strategy: Since 2017, TEGNA has undergone a Board refreshment process to ensure Directors’ expertise align with TEGNA’s strategic evolution. During this period, we added four independent Directors with deep expertise in media, technology, social/digital, and capital markets and transactional experience.
•Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: Our Board and management are committed to ensuring our company reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. To strengthen accountability on diversity into the governance of our company, in 2020 TEGNA’s Board adopted specific areas of oversight for each Board committee regarding how we approach diversity:
◦The Leadership Development & Compensation Committee is responsible for monitoring and supporting our performance in diversity, inclusion and equal employment opportunity, and the continuation of our efforts to gain and maintain diversity among our employees and management.
◦The Nominating & Governance Committee is responsible for overseeing the racial, ethnic and gender diversity of the Board.
◦The Public Policy and Regulatory Committee reviews with management our approach to, and initiatives and support for, promoting racial and ethnic diversity in our news and other content, through inclusive journalism and racial and ethnic diversity in our editorial decision-making and leadership.
◦The Audit Committee is responsible for monitoring our finance and asset management-related diversity and inclusion efforts, including our investment and purchasing involving minority-owned businesses.
In addition to the corporate governance practices discussed above, other important corporate governance practices we follow include:
•All of our directors are elected annually;
•Our directors and senior executives are subject to stock ownership guidelines;
•We do not have a shareholder rights plan (poison pill) in place;
•Our Board has adopted a proxy access by-law provision; and
•Mergers and other business combinations involving the Company generally may be approved by a simple majority vote.
Additional information regarding our corporate governance practices is included in our Principles of Corporate Governance posted on the Corporate Governance page under the “Investors” menu of our website at www.tegna.com.
MARKETS WE SERVE
TELEVISION STATIONS AND AFFILIATED DIGITAL PLATFORM
|State/District of Columbia||City||Station/web site|
|Affiliation Agreement Expires in|
|Ch. 54/FOX||2022||428,030 ||1985|
|Ch. 2/NBC||2024||2,085,290 ||1970|
|Ch. 12/NBC||2024||2,085,290 ||1953|
|Ch. 11/FOX||2022||457,790 ||1967|
|Ch. 20/MNTV||2022||1,806,820 ||1988|
|Ch. 9/NBC||2024||1,806,820 ||1952|
|District of Columbia||Washington|
|Ch. 25/ABC||2023||769,000 ||1989|
|Ch. 12/NBC||2024||769,000 ||1957|
|Ch. 10/CBS||2022||2,043,580 ||1965|
|Ch. 36/MNTV||2022||2,659,160 ||1954|
|Ch. 11/NBC||2024||2,659,160 ||1948|
|Ch. 13/CBS||2022||246,120 ||1953|
KTVB(TV) (3): ktvb.com
WTHR(TV) (4): wthr.com
WUPL(TV) (5): wwltv.com/mytv
WBNS-TV (6): 10tv.com
KGW(TV) (7): kgw.com
|Ch. 24/ABC||2022||632,270 ||1978|
|Ch. 30/CW||2026||632,270 ||1983|
|Ch. 15/FOX||2022||117,460 ||2001|
|Ch. 24/ABC||2023||927,180 ||1971|
KBMT(TV) (8): 12newsnow.com
|Ch. 12/ABC||2023||168,350 ||1961|
|Ch. 3/ABC||2023||213,270 ||1964|
|Ch. 8/ABC||2023||2,962,440 ||1949|
|Ch. 29 / Estrella||2025||2,962,440 ||1993|
|Ch. 11/CBS||2022||2,598,960 ||1953|
|Ch. 55/Quest||N/A||2,598,960 ||2004|
|Odessa||KWES-TV: newswest9.com||Ch. 9/NBC||2024||176,380 ||1958|
|Ch. 6/FOX||2022||58,760 ||1984|
|Ch. 5/CBS||2022||1,045,420 ||1950|
|Ch. 19/CBS||2022||279,770 ||2008|
|TELEVISION STATIONS AND AFFILIATED DIGITAL PLATFORM|
|State/District of Columbia||City||Station/web site|
|Affiliation Agreement Expires in|
KCEN-TV (9): kcentv.com
|Ch. 9/NBC||2024||402,470 ||1953|
|Ch. 5/NBC||2024||2,158,120 ||1948|
|Ch. 16/IND||N/A||2,158,120 ||1997|
|Ch. 2/CBS||2022||480,500 ||1954|
(1) Channel refers to the viewer-facing “virtual” channel associated with the station’s brand, which may differ from the radio frequency channel on which the station transmits.
(2) Market TV households is number of television households in each market, according to 2021-2022 Nielsen figures.
(3) We also own KTFT-LD (NBC), a low power television station in Twin Falls, ID.
(4) We also own WALV-CD, a Class A television station in Indianapolis, IN.
(5) We also own WBXN-CD, a Class A television station in New Orleans, LA.
(6) We also own two radio stations, WBNS(AM) (1460), and WBNS-FM (97.1).
(7) We also own KGWZ-LD, a low power television station in Portland, OR.
(8) KBMT also operates a subchannel (KJAC/NBC), which is not counted. We also own KUIL-LD, a low power station in Beaumont, TX.
(9) We also own KAGS-LP, a low power television station in Bryan, TX.
|In addition to the above television station properties, we also have the following digital and multicast network operations which support our television stations:|
Locked On Podcast Network: www.lockedonpodcasts.com
TEGNA Marketing Solutions: www.tegna.com/advertise
True Crime Network, Quest, and Twist multicast networks: www.truecrimenetworktv.com, www.questtv.com, and www.watchtwist.com
We have non-controlling ownership interests in the following companies:
Baller TV: www.ballertv.com
Boom Shakalaka: www.booment.com
Bustle Digital Group: www.bustle.com
Hudson MX: www.hudsonmx.com
Jackpocket Inc: www.jackpocket.com
Kin Community: www.kincommunity.com
SIGNIA Venture Partners: www.signiaventurepartners.com
Video Call Center: www.thevcc.tv
Whistle Sports: www.teamwhistle.com
|TEGNA ON THE NET: News and information about us is available on our web site, www.TEGNA.com. In addition to news and other information about us, we provide access through this site to our annual report on Form 10-K, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, our current reports on Form 8-K and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after we file or furnish them electronically to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Certifications by our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer are included as exhibits to our SEC reports (including to this Form 10-K). We also provide access on this web site to our Principles of Corporate Governance, the charters of our Audit, Leadership Development and Compensation, Nominating and Governance, and Public Policy and Regulation Committees and other important governance documents and policies, including our Ethics and Inside Trading Policies. Copies of all of these corporate governance documents are available to any shareholder upon written request made to our Secretary at the headquarters address. We will disclose on our web site changes to, or waivers of, our corporate ethics policy.|
Certain factors affecting forward-looking statements
Certain statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K that do not describe historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions about future events and are subject to various risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to
differ materially from the views, beliefs, projections and estimates expressed in such statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to, those described within Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report, and the following: (1) the timing, receipt and terms and conditions of any required governmental or regulatory approvals of the proposed transaction and the related transactions involving the parties that could reduce the anticipated benefits of or cause the parties to abandon the proposed transaction, (2) risks related to the satisfaction of the conditions to closing the proposed transaction (including the failure to obtain necessary regulatory approvals or the approval of the Company’s stockholders), and the related transactions involving the parties, in the anticipated timeframe or at all, (3) the risk that any announcements relating to the proposed transaction could have adverse effects on the market price of the Company’s common stock, (4) disruption from the proposed transaction making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships, including retaining and hiring key personnel and maintaining relationships with the Company’s customers, vendors and others with whom it does business, (5) the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement entered into pursuant to the proposed transaction or of the transactions involving the parties, (6) risks related to disruption of management’s attention from the Company’s ongoing business operations due to the proposed transaction, (7) significant transaction costs, (8) the risk of litigation and/or regulatory actions related to the proposed transaction or unfavorable results from currently pending litigation and proceedings or litigation and proceedings that could arise in the future, (9) other business effects, including the effects of industry, market, economic, political or regulatory conditions, (10) information technology system failures, data security breaches, data privacy compliance, network disruptions, and cybersecurity, malware or ransomware attacks, and (11) changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which could exacerbate any of the risks described above.
Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of the Company. Each such statement speaks only as of the day it was made. We undertake no obligation to update or to revise any forward-looking statements. The factors described above cannot be controlled by our Company. When used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the words “believes,” “estimates,” “plans,” “expects,” “should,” “could,” “outlook,” and “anticipates” and similar expressions as they relate to our Company or management are intended to identify forward looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may include, without limitation: statements about the potential benefits of the proposed acquisition, anticipated growth rates, the Company’s plans, objectives, expectations, and the anticipated timing of closing the proposed transaction.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
An investment in our common stock involves risks and uncertainties and investors should consider carefully the following risk factors before investing in our securities. We seek to identify, manage and mitigate risks to our business, but risk and uncertainty cannot be eliminated or necessarily predicted. The risks described below may not be the only risks we face. Additional risks that we do not yet perceive or that we currently believe are immaterial may adversely affect our business and the trading price of our securities.
Risks Related to the Merger
The Merger is subject to receipt of approval from our shareholders as well as the satisfaction of other closing conditions, including conditions that may not be satisfied or completed on a timely basis, if at all.
The consummation of the Merger is subject to a number of important closing conditions that make the closing and timing of the Merger uncertain. The conditions include, among others, (i) the approval of the Merger Agreement by the holders of at least a majority of the outstanding shares of our common stock entitled to vote thereon; (ii) the absence of any injunction or order by a court of competent jurisdiction in the United States or law in the United States having been adopted prohibiting the consummation of the Merger; (iii) the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended applicable to the Merger and the transactions contemplated by that certain Contribution and Exchange Agreement entered into concurrently with the Merger Agreement by the Parent Restructuring Entities (the Contribution Agreement); (iv) the grant by the FCC of applications required to be filed with the FCC to obtain the approvals of the FCC pursuant to the Communications Act and FCC rules necessary to consummate the transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement and the Contribution Agreement (the transactions contemplated by the Contribution Agreement, the Restructuring), including a petition for declaratory ruling under Section 310(b) of the Communications Act and the FCC’s rules governing foreign ownership with respect to the Merger and the Restructuring; (v) the accuracy of the representations and warranties contained in the Merger Agreement (subject to certain materiality qualifiers); (vi) the performance and compliance in all material respects by the parties of their respective covenants required by the Merger Agreement to be performed or complied with by such party prior to the effective time of the Merger (the Effective Time); and (vii) the absence of any “Company Material Adverse Effect” (as defined in the Merger Agreement) since September 30, 2021. We can provide no assurance that all required consents and approvals will be obtained or that all closing conditions will otherwise be satisfied (or waived, if applicable), and, if all required consents and approvals are obtained and all closing conditions are satisfied (or waived, if applicable), we can provide no assurance as to the terms, conditions and timing of such consents and approvals or the timing of the completion of the Merger. Many of the conditions to completion of the Merger are not within either our or the Parent Restructuring Entities’ control, and neither us nor the Parent Restructuring Entities can predict when or if these conditions will be satisfied (or waived, if applicable). Any delay in completing the Merger could cause us not to realize some or all of the benefits that we expect to achieve if the Merger is successfully completed within its expected timeframe.
Failure to complete the Merger in a timely manner, or at all, could negatively impact our future business and our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
If the Merger is not completed for any reason, including as a result of our shareholders failing to adopt the Merger Agreement, our shareholders will not receive any payment for their shares in connection with the Merger. Instead, TEGNA will remain an independent public company, and its shares will continue to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Moreover, our ongoing business may be materially adversely affected and we would be subject to a number of risks, including the following:
•we may experience negative reactions from the financial markets, including negative impacts on our stock price, and it is uncertain when, if ever, the price of the shares would return to the prices at which the shares currently trade;
•we may experience negative publicity, which could have an adverse effect on our ongoing operations including, but not limited to, retaining and attracting employees, distribution partners, content partners, business clients, customers, providers, advertisers and others with whom we do business;
•we will still be required to pay certain significant costs relating to the Merger, such as legal, accounting, financial advisor, printing and other professional services fees, which may relate to activities that we would not have undertaken other than in connection with the Merger;
•we may be required to pay a cash termination fee as required under the Merger Agreement;
•the Merger Agreement places certain restrictions on the conduct of our business, which may have delayed or prevented us from undertaking business opportunities that, absent the Merger Agreement, we may have pursued;
•matters relating to the Merger require substantial commitments of time and resources by our management, which could result in the distraction of management from ongoing business operations and pursuing other opportunities that could have been beneficial to us; and
•litigation related to the Merger or related to any enforcement proceeding commenced against us to perform our obligations under the Merger Agreement.
If the Merger is not consummated, the risks described above may materialize and they may have a material adverse effect on our business operations, financial results and stock price, especially to the extent that the current market price of our common stock reflects an assumption that the Merger will be completed.
We are subject to certain restrictions in the Merger Agreement that may hinder operations pending the consummation of the Merger.
The Merger Agreement generally requires us to operate our business in the ordinary course pending consummation of the Merger and restricts us, without Community News Media LLC’s consent, from taking certain specified actions until the Merger is completed, subject to certain exceptions. These restrictions may affect our ability to execute our business strategies and attain our financial and other goals and may impact our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
These restrictions could be in place for an extended period of time if the consummation of the Merger is delayed, which may delay or prevent us from undertaking business opportunities that, absent the Merger Agreement, we might have pursued, or from effectively responding to competitive pressures or industry developments.
Whether or not the Merger is completed, the pending Merger may disrupt our current plans and operations, which could have an adverse effect on our business and financial results. For these and other reasons, the pendency of the Merger could adversely affect our business and financial results.
We will be subject to various uncertainties while the Merger is pending that may cause disruption and may make it more difficult to maintain relationships with employees, clients, customers, and others with whom we do business.
In connection with the proposed Merger, our current and prospective employees may experience uncertainty about their future roles with the combined company following the Merger, which may materially adversely affect our ability to attract and retain key personnel while the Merger is pending. Key employees may depart because of issues relating to the uncertainty and difficulty of integration or a desire not to remain with the combined company following the Merger. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that we will be able to attract and retain key employees to the same extent that we have been able to in the past. If we do not succeed in attracting, hiring, and integrating excellent personnel, or retaining and motivating existing personnel, we may be unable to grow and operate our business effectively.
The proposed Merger further could cause disruptions to our business or business relationships, which could have an adverse impact on our results of operations. Parties with which we have business relationships may experience uncertainty as to the future of such relationships and may delay or defer certain business decisions, seek alternative relationships with third parties or
seek to alter their present business relationships with us. Parties with whom we otherwise may have sought to establish business relationships may seek alternative relationships with third parties. The pursuit of the Merger and the preparation for the integration may also place a significant burden on management and internal resources. The diversion of management’s attention away from day-to-day business concerns could adversely affect our financial results.
The Merger Agreement contains provisions that could make it difficult for a third party to make a superior acquisition proposal.
The Merger Agreement contains certain customary restrictions on our ability to solicit proposals from third parties for an acquisition of TEGNA prior to obtaining the approval of the Merger Agreement from our shareholders. In addition, subject to certain customary “fiduciary out” exceptions, the Board is required to recommend that our shareholders vote in favor of the approval of the Merger, the Merger Agreement and the transactions contemplated thereby.
We may, under certain circumstances, be obligated to pay a termination fee to Parent and/or reimburse Parent for its expenses. These costs could require us to use cash that would have otherwise been available for other uses.
These provisions might discourage an otherwise-interested third party from considering or proposing an acquisition of TEGNA, including proposals that may be deemed to offer greater value to our shareholders than as provided in the Merger Agreement. Furthermore, even if a third party elects to propose an acquisition, the requirement that we must pay a termination fee to accept any such proposal may cause that third party to offer a lower price to our stockholders than such third party might otherwise have offered.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
We are impacted by demand for advertising, which, in turn, depends on a number of factors, some of which are cyclical and many of which are beyond our control
In 2021, 48% of our revenues were derived from television spot and digital advertising. Demand for advertising is highly correlated with the strength of the U.S. economy, both in the markets our stations serve and in the nation as a whole. Consequently, our operating results depend on the relative strength of the economy in our principal television markets as well as the strength or weakness of regional and national economic factors. A decline in economic conditions in the U.S. could have a significant adverse impact on our businesses and could significantly impact our television spot and digital advertising revenues.
Our advertising revenues can also be affected by a variety of other factors outside our control, including, among other things, the viewership of the programming offered by our television stations, local and national advertising price fluctuations, the duration and extent of any network preemption of regularly scheduled programming for any reason, and labor disputes or other disruptions at programming providers, networks or professional sports leagues. Our advertising revenues can also vary substantially from year to year, driven by the political election cycle (i.e., even years); the ability and willingness of candidates and political action committees to raise and spend funds on television and digital advertising; and the competitiveness of the election races in our stations’ markets.
Competition from alternative forms of media may impair our ability to grow or maintain revenue levels in traditional and new businesses
Advertising and marketing services produce a significant portion of our revenues, with our stations’ affiliated desktop, mobile and tablet advertising revenues, as well as our OTT product offerings being important components. Technology, particularly new video formats, streaming and downloading capabilities via the Internet, video-on-demand, personal video recorders and other devices and technologies used in the entertainment industry continues to evolve rapidly, leading to alternative methods for the delivery and storage of digital content. These technological advancements have driven changes in consumer behavior and have empowered consumers to seek more control over when, where and how they consume news and entertainment, including through so-called “cutting the cord” and other consumption strategies.
These innovations may affect our ability to generate television audience, which may make our television stations less attractive to advertisers. For example, increasing demand for content generated for consumption through other forms of media such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, or Peacock could cause our advertising revenues to decline as a result of changes to the ratings of our programming, which may materially negatively affect our business and results of operations.
A resurgence in the rate of COVID-19 infections that is significant enough to force widespread business closures could materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
During 2021 and continuing into 2022, the world continued to be impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The emergence of the delta and omicron variants produced spiking infection rates, creating further economic uncertainty throughout the United States.
The impact of COVID-19 and the extent of its adverse impact on our financial and operating results will be dictated by how the pandemic continues to affect our advertising customers. This will depend on future pandemic-related developments including the severity of COVID-19 variants; disruptions to our customers’ supply chains and impacts to their advertising and marketing purchasing patterns; the effectiveness, distribution and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines; consumer confidence; and U.S. government actions to prevent and manage the virus spread, all of which are uncertain and cannot be predicted. While we use the best information available in developing significant estimates included in our financial statements, the effects of the pandemic on our operations may not be fully realized, or reflected in our financial results, until future periods. As such, actual results could differ from our estimates, and these differences resulting from changes in facts and circumstances could be material.
The value of our assets or operations may be diminished if our information technology systems fail to perform adequately
Our information technology systems are critically important to operating our business efficiently and effectively. We rely on our information technology systems, including systems hosted and operated by third-party vendors on our behalf, to manage our business data, communications, news and advertising content, digital products, order entry, fulfillment and other business processes. The failure of our information technology systems to perform as we anticipate could disrupt our business and could result in transaction errors, processing inefficiencies, broadcasting disruptions, and loss of sales and customers, causing our business and results to be impacted.
Our efforts to minimize the likelihood and impact of adverse cybersecurity incidents and to protect our technology and confidential information may not be successful and our business could be negatively affected
In addition to the operational risks described above, our informational technology systems are also exposed to increasing risks related to cybersecurity-related incidents. Cybersecurity attacks by third parties with malicious intent, including but not limited to, attacks on our or our vendors’ information technology infrastructure and unauthorized attempts to gain access to our confidential information, pose risks to our company. Further, advances in technology and the increasing sophistication of attackers have led to more frequent and effective cyberattacks, including advanced persistent threats by state-sponsored actors, cyberattacks relying on complex social engineering or “phishing” tactics, ransomware attacks, and other methods. We take measures to minimize the risk of a cyber-attack including utilization of multi-factor authentication, deployment of firewalls, virtual private networks for mobile connections, elevated access controls, standardized vendor access, active patching monitoring / logging, and conducting regular training of our employees related to protecting sensitive information and recognizing “phishing” attacks. While the measures we employ meet or exceed industry standards they nonetheless may not be sufficient in preventing or timely detecting breaches or cyber-attacks due to the evolving nature and ever-increasing abilities of cyber-attackers. Depending on the severity of the breach or cyber-attack, such events could result in business interruptions, disclosure of nonpublic information, loss of sales and customers, misstated financial data, liabilities for stolen assets or information, diversion of our management’s attention, transaction errors, processing inefficiencies, increased cybersecurity protection costs, litigation, and financial consequences, any or all of which could adversely affect our business operations and reputation. In addition, cybersecurity breaches could subject us to civil liability to customers and other third parties as well as fines and penalties imposed by governmental or regulatory authorities, which could be substantial. We maintain cyber risk insurance, but this insurance may be insufficient to cover all of our losses from breaches of our systems. In addition, our business operations may be disrupted, and our results of operations may be impaired, by the impact of breaches or cyber-attacks on our vendors, and these potential disruptions and impairments may not be covered by our insurance policies.
As has historically been the case in the broadcast sector, loss of, or changes in, affiliation agreements or retransmission consent agreements could adversely affect operating results for our stations
Most of our stations are covered by our network affiliation agreements with the major broadcast television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox). These television networks produce and distribute programming in exchange for each of our stations’ commitment to air the programming at specified times and for other consideration such as commercial announcement time during the programming. The cost of network affiliation agreements represents a significant portion of our television operating expenses.
Each of our network affiliation agreements has a stated expiration date. With respect to the major broadcast networks, our principal expirations occur in the following years: NBC-early 2024, CBS-late 2022, ABC-2023 and Fox-mid 2022. If renewed, our network affiliation agreements may be renewed on terms that are less favorable to us. The non-renewal or termination of any of our network affiliation agreements would prevent us from being able to carry programming of the affiliate network. This loss of programming would require us to obtain replacement programming, which may involve higher costs and/or which may not be as attractive to our audiences, resulting in reduced revenues.
In recent years, the networks have begun streaming their programming directly to consumers on the Internet and other distribution platforms (e.g., CBS on Paramount+ and NBC on Peacock), in some cases live or within a short period of the original network programming broadcast on local television stations, including those we own. An increase in the availability of network programming on alternative platforms that either bypass or provide less favorable terms to local stations - such as cable channels, the Internet and other distribution vehicles - may dilute the exclusivity and the value of network programming originally broadcast by our stations and could adversely affect the business, financial condition and results of operations of our stations.
Our retransmission consent agreements with major cable, satellite and telecommunications service providers (also referred to as multichannel video programming distributors or MVPDs) permit them to retransmit our stations’ signals to their subscribers in exchange for the payment of compensation to us (which we classify as subscription revenues). This source of revenue represented approximately 49% of our 2021 total revenues. We recently renewed distribution agreements with multiple major MVPDs at what we believe to be leading Big Four affiliates rates. On occasion, we may not be able to agree on mutually acceptable terms when negotiating such renewals as we experienced in renewal negotiations with a major broadcast satellite provider in early October 2021. When this happens, the MVPD will be required to cease airing our programming (commonly referred to as a “blackout” or “going dark”), and we will not be compensated by the MVPD during the period of the blackout as was the case with the broadcast satellite provider. Future blackouts, should they occur, or if we are unable to renew our retransmission agreements on market terms, or at all, could negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, the Merger could affect our relationships with broadcast television networks and MVPDs. Please see the Risk Factor titled “We will be subject to various uncertainties while the Merger is pending that may cause disruption and may make it more difficult to maintain relationships with employees, clients, customers, and others with whom we do business.”
We operate our business in a single broadcast segment, which increases our exposure to the changes and highly competitive environment of the broadcast industry
Broadcast companies operate in a highly competitive environment and compete for audiences, advertising and marketing services revenue and quality programming. Lower audience share, declines in advertising and marketing services spending, and increased programming costs would adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. There can be no assurance that we will be able to compete successfully against existing, new or potential competitors, or that competition and consolidation in the media marketplace will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
In addition, the FCC and Congress may enact new laws and regulations, and/or changes to existing laws and regulations, that could impact media ownership and other broadcast-related activities. Changes to FCC rules may lead to additional opportunities as well as increased uncertainty in the industry.
Changing regulations may also impair or reduce our leverage in negotiating affiliation or retransmission agreements, adversely affecting our revenues, or result in increased costs, reduced valuations for certain broadcasting properties or other impacts, all of which may adversely impact our future profitability. All of our stations are required to hold broadcasting licenses from the FCC; when granted, these licenses are generally granted for a period of eight years. Under certain circumstances, the FCC is not required to renew any license and could decline to renew future license applications.
Changes in the regulatory environment could increase our costs or limit our opportunities for growth
Our stations are subject to various obligations and restrictions under the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the Communications Act), and FCC regulations. These requirements may be affected by legislation, FCC actions, or court decisions, and any such changes may affect the performance of our business, such as by imposing new obligations or by limiting our television stations’ exclusivity or retransmission consent rights. If broadcast ownership rules become more restrictive, our opportunities to grow our broadcast business through acquisitions or other strategic transactions could be impaired.
In addition, prospective acquisition activities may be subject to antitrust review by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ). DOJ’s review could result in restrictions on our ability to pursue or consummate future transactions, and/or a requirement that we divest certain television stations if an acquisition would result in excessive concentration in a market. Review and enforcement policies of the DOJ may be subject to change, including as a result of changes in administration or in DOJ leadership. As a result, we cannot assure investors that any future transaction that we enter into will be approved, or that a requirement to divest existing stations will not have an adverse effect on the transaction or on our business.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock
There could be significant liability if the spin-off of Cars.com was determined to be a taxable transaction
In May 2017 we completed our spin-off of Cars.com, which we refer to as the “spin-off”. In connection with the spin-off, we received an opinion from outside tax counsel to the effect that the requirements for tax-free treatment under Section 355 of the Internal Revenue Code were satisfied. The opinion relies on certain facts, assumptions, representations and undertakings from TEGNA and the spun-off business regarding the past and future conduct of the company’s business and other matters. If any of these facts, assumptions, representations or undertakings is incorrect or not satisfied, TEGNA and its stockholders may not be able to rely on the opinion of tax counsel and could be subject to significant tax liabilities.
Notwithstanding the opinion of tax counsel, the Internal Revenue Service could determine on audit that the spin-off is taxable if it determines that any of these facts, assumptions, representations or undertakings were incorrect or have been violated or if it disagrees with the conclusions in the opinion, or for other reasons, including as a result of certain significant changes in the share ownership of TEGNA or the spun-off business after the separation. If the spin-off was determined to be taxable for U.S.
federal income tax purposes, TEGNA and its stockholders that are subject to U.S. federal income tax could incur significant U.S. federal income tax liabilities. Our 2017 tax year is currently under examination by the Internal Revenue Service and the relevant federal statute of limitations remains open until December 31, 2022.
Volatility in the U.S. credit markets could significantly impact our ability to obtain new financing to fund our operations or to refinance our existing debt at reasonable rates and terms as it matures
As of December 31, 2021, we had approximately $3.26 billion in debt and approximately $1.33 billion of undrawn additional borrowing capacity under our revolving credit facility that expires in 2024. Our fixed rate term debt matures at various times during the years 2026-2029. If our operating results deteriorate significantly, we may not be able to pay amounts when due and a portion of these maturities may need to be refinanced. Access to the capital markets for longer-term financing is generally unpredictable and volatile credit markets could make it harder for us to obtain debt financings. In addition, the Merger Agreement prohibits us from incurring, assuming, or guaranteeing any debt, subject to certain exceptions.
The value of our existing intangible assets may become impaired, depending upon future operating results
Goodwill and other intangible assets were approximately $5.42 billion as of December 31, 2021, representing approximately 78% of our total assets. Goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets are subject to annual impairment testing and more frequent testing upon the occurrence of certain events or significant changes in circumstance that indicate all or a portion of their carrying values may no longer be recoverable in which case a non-cash charge to earnings may be necessary. We may subsequently experience market pressures that could cause future cash flows to decline below our current expectations, or volatile equity markets could negatively impact market factors used in the impairment analysis, including earnings multiples, discount rates, and long-term growth rates. Any future evaluations requiring an asset impairment charge for goodwill or other intangible assets would adversely affect future reported results of operations and shareholders’ equity, although such charges would not affect our cash flow.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
The types of properties required to support our television stations include offices, studios, sales offices, tower and transmitter sites. A listing of television station locations can be found on page 16. Our digital and multicast businesses that support our broadcast operations lease their facilities. This includes facilities for executive offices, sales offices and data centers. A listing of our digital businesses locations can be found on page 17. We lease our corporate headquarters facility, which is located in Tysons, VA. We believe that none of our individual properties represents a material amount of the total properties owned or leased.
We believe all of our owned and leased facilities are in satisfactory condition, are well maintained, and are adequate for current use.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
Information regarding legal proceedings may be found in Note 11 of the Notes to consolidated financial statements.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM 5.MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Our approximately 221.5 million outstanding shares of common stock were held by 5,924 shareholders of record as of February 18, 2022. Our shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with the symbol TGNA.
Purchases of Equity Securities
In December 2020, our Board of Directors authorized a new share repurchase program for up to $300.0 million of our common stock over the next three years. From 2019 through 2021, no shares were repurchased. As a result of the announcement of the Merger Agreement on February 22, 2022, we have suspended share repurchases under this program.
Since 2017, we have been paying a regular quarterly cash dividend. We paid dividends totaling $78.5 million in 2021 and $76.5 million in 2020. On March 29, 2021, we announced that our Board of Directors approved a dividend increase of ten cents per share on an annual basis, to $0.38 per common share, which represents an approximately 36% increase above the prior dividend. We expect to continue to pay our regular quarterly dividend of $0.095 per share through the closing of the Merger, which is the maximum rate and frequency permitted by the Merger Agreement.
Comparison of shareholder return – 2017 to 2021
The following graph compares the performance of our common stock during the period December 31, 2016, to December 31, 2021, with the S&P 500 Index, and a peer group index we selected.
Our peer group includes E.W. Scripps Company, Gray Television Inc., Meredith Corp. (through 12/1/21 when it was acquired by Gray Television Inc.), Nexstar Media Group, Inc., and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc (collectively, the peer group). The peer group includes the largest publicly traded pure-play and diversified television broadcasting companies with meaningful television station assets and broadcast exposure. No such company of relevant scale is excluded from the peer group, except for the television networks, which are part of much larger entities in which television stations are a relatively small part of the aggregate enterprise.
The S&P 500 Index includes 500 U.S. companies in the industrial, utilities and financial sectors and is weighted by market capitalization. The total returns of each peer group index also are weighted by market capitalization.
The graph depicts representative results of investing $100 in our common stock, the S&P 500 Index, and the peer group index as of closing on December 31, 2016. It assumes that dividends were reinvested monthly with respect to our common stock (including, as it relates to the Cars.com spin-off, the aggregate value of the former digital automotive marketplace business as distributed to our shareholders), daily with respect to the S&P 500 Index and monthly with respect to the peer group company.
|Company Name / Index||2016||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021|
|S&P 500 Index||100||$121.83||$116.49||$153.17||$181.35||$233.41|
ITEM 6. [RESERVED]
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
We are an innovative media company serving the greater good of our communities. Across platforms, we tell empowering stories, conduct impactful investigations and deliver innovative marketing services. With 64 television stations and two radio stations in 51 U.S. markets, we are the largest owner of top four network affiliates in the top 25 markets among independent station groups, reaching approximately 39% of U.S. television households. We also own leading multicast networks True Crime Network, Twist and Quest. Each television station also has a robust digital presence across online, mobile and social platforms, reaching consumers on all devices and platforms they use to consume news content. We have been consistently honored with the industry’s top awards, including Edward R. Murrow, George Polk, Alfred I. DuPont and Emmy Awards. Through TEGNA Marketing Solutions (TMS), our integrated sales and back-end fulfillment operations, we deliver results for advertisers across television, digital and over-the-top (OTT) platforms, including Premion, our OTT advertising network.
We have one operating and reportable segment. The primary sources of our revenues are: 1) subscription revenues, reflecting fees paid by satellite, cable, OTT (companies that deliver video content to consumers over the Internet) and telecommunications providers to carry our television signals on their systems; 2) advertising & marketing services (AMS) revenues, which include local and national non-political television advertising, digital marketing services (including Premion), and advertising on stations’ websites, tablet and mobile products and OTT apps; 3) political advertising revenues, which are driven by even-year election cycles at the local and national level (e.g., 2022, 2020. etc.) and particularly in the second half of those years; and 4) other services, such as production of programming, tower rentals and distribution of our local news content.
On February 22, 2022, we entered into the Merger Agreement with Parent, Merger Sub, and solely for purposes of certain provisions specified therein, other subsidiaries of Parent, certain affiliates Standard General and CMG and certain of its subsidiaries. We currently expect the transaction, which is subject to stockholder and regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions, to close in the second half of 2022. See Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors” and Note 12 — Subsequent Event of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this report.
Since early 2020, the world has been, and continues to be, impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its variants. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges including widespread economic and social change throughout the United States. The U.S. economy continued on a path to recovery during 2021 with millions of Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccines, states/municipalities increasingly reopening and continued growth in employment. In addition, the U.S. federal government continued to enact policies to provide fiscal stimulus to the economy and relief to those affected by the pandemic, with the stimulus bolstering household finances as well as those of small businesses, states and municipalities. Our AMS revenues were most negatively impacted by the pandemic early in the second quarter of 2020 but since then AMS revenues have improved significantly as economic re-opening accelerated.
The impact of COVID-19 and the extent of its adverse impact on our financial and operating results will be dictated by the degree to which the pandemic continues to affect our advertising customers. This will depend on future pandemic-related developments including the severity of COVID-19 variants, disruptions to our customers’ supply chains and impacts to their advertising and marketing purchasing patterns, the effectiveness, distribution and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots, consumer confidence, and U.S. government actions to prevent and manage the virus spread, all of which are uncertain and cannot be predicted. While we use the best information available in developing significant estimates included in our financial statements, the effects of the pandemic on our operations may not be fully realized, or reflected in our financial results, until future periods. As such, actual results could differ from our estimates and these differences resulting from changes in facts and circumstances could be material.
Seasonality: Our revenues and operating results are subject to seasonal fluctuations. Generally, our second and fourth quarter operating results are stronger than those of the first and third quarter. This is driven by the second quarter reflecting increased spring seasonal advertising, while the fourth quarter typically includes increased advertising related to the holiday season. In addition, our revenue and operating results are subject to significant fluctuations across yearly periods resulting from political advertising. In even numbered years, political spending is usually significantly higher than in odd numbered years due to advertising for the local and national elections. Additionally, every four years, we typically experience even greater increases in political advertising in connection with the presidential election. The strong demand for advertising from political advertisers in these even years can result in the significant use of our available inventory (leading to a “crowd out” effect), which can diminish our AMS revenue in the even year of a two year election cycle, particularly in the fourth quarter of those years.
Consolidated Results from Operations
The following discussion is a comparison of our consolidated results on a GAAP basis. The year-to-year comparison of financial results is not necessarily indicative of future results. In addition, see the section on page 32 titled ‘Operating results non-GAAP information’ for additional tables presenting information which supplements our financial information provided on a GAAP basis.
As discussed above, our operating results are subject to significant fluctuations across yearly periods (driven by even-year election cycles). As such, in addition to one year ago comparisons, our management team and Board of Directors also review current period operating results compared to the same period two years ago (e.g., 2021 vs. 2019). We believe this comparison will also provide useful information to investors, and therefore, we have supplemented our prior year comparison of consolidated results to also include a comparison against 2019 results (through operating income).
During 2019, we acquired multiple local television stations and multicast networks. Specifically, we acquired certain stations divested by Gray (January 2, 2019), the Justice Network (rebranded as True Crime Network) and Quest multicast networks (June 18, 2019), the Dispatch stations (August 8, 2019) and certain stations divested by Nexstar (September 19, 2019). The multicast networks, Dispatch stations, and Nexstar stations are collectively referred to as the “2019 Acquisitions” in the discussion that follows. These 2019 Acquisitions did not contribute to the periods prior to their acquisition in our financial statements which impacts 2021 to 2019 comparability of our consolidated operating results. The Gray stations do not impact the 2021 to 2019 comparability.
For a comparative discussion of our results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, see “Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, filed with the SEC on March 1, 2021.
A consolidated summary of our results is presented below (in thousands, except per share amounts):
Change from 2020
Change from 2019
|Revenues:||$||2,991,093 ||$||2,937,780 ||2%||$||2,299,497 ||30%|
|Cost of revenues||1,598,759 ||1,503,287 ||6%||1,228,237 ||30%|
|Business units - Selling, general and administrative expenses||396,446 ||365,601 ||8%||326,804 ||21%|
|Corporate - General and administrative expenses||68,127 ||73,295 ||(7%)||80,144 ||(15%)|
|Depreciation||64,841 ||66,880 ||(3%)||60,525 ||7%|
|Amortization of intangible assets||63,011 ||67,690 ||(7%)||50,104 ||26%|
|Spectrum repacking reimbursements and other, net||(2,307)||(9,955)||(77%)||(5,335)||(57%)|
|Total ||2,188,877 ||2,066,798 ||6%||1,740,479 ||26%|
|Operating income||802,216 ||870,982 ||(8%)||559,018 ||44%|
|Non-operating income (expense):|
|Equity (loss) income in unconsolidated investments, net||(9,713)||10,397 ||***||10,149 ||***|
|Other non-operating items, net||6,825 ||(34,029)||***||11,960 ||(43%)|
|Income before income taxes||613,678 ||637,056 ||(4%)||375,657 ||63%|
|Provision for income taxes||135,481 ||154,293 ||(12%)||89,422 ||52%|
|Net Income||$||478,197 ||$||482,763 ||(1%)||$||286,235 ||67%|
|Earnings per share-basic||$||2.15 ||$||2.20 ||(2%)||$||1.32 ||63%|
|Earnings per share-diluted||$||2.14 ||$||2.19 ||(2%)||$||1.31 ||63%|
*** Not meaningful
Our Subscription revenue category includes revenue earned from cable and satellite providers for the right to carry our signals and the distribution of TEGNA stations on OTT streaming services. Our AMS category includes all sources of our traditional television advertising and digital revenues including Premion and other digital advertising and marketing revenues across our platforms.
The following table summarizes the year-over-year changes in our revenue categories (in thousands):
Change from 2020
Change from 2019
|Subscription||$||1,466,433 ||$||1,286,611 ||14%||$||1,005,030 ||46%|
|Advertising & Marketing Services||1,428,082||1,174,774||22%||1,226,607||16%|
|Total revenues||$||2,991,093 ||$||2,937,780 ||2%||$||2,299,497 ||30%|
2021 vs. 2020
Total revenues increased $53.3 million in 2021. The net increase was primarily due to $253.3 million growth in AMS reflecting higher demand for television and digital advertising, year over year. Growth in subscription revenue of $179.8 million was primarily due to annual rate increases under existing and newly renegotiated retransmission agreements, partially offset by declines in subscribers including the impact of an outage with a broadcast satellite provider that began on October 6, 2021 and ended in early 2022. These increases were partially offset by a decrease in political revenue of $385.0 million, following the 2020 presidential election year.
2021 vs. 2019
Total revenues increased $691.6 million in 2021. Our 2019 Acquisitions contributed $306.2 million to this increase. Excluding the 2019 Acquisitions, total revenues increased $385.4 million. This increase was primarily due to a $303.5 million increase in legacy subscription revenue from annual rate increases under existing and newly renegotiated retransmission agreements, partially offset by declines in subscribers including the impact of an outage with a broadcast satellite provider that began on October 6, 2021 and ended in early 2022. Also contributing to the increase was a $51.5 million increase in AMS revenue, driven in part by Premion, and a $21.9 million increase in political advertising revenue.
Cost of revenues
2021 vs. 2020
Cost of revenues increased $95.5 million in 2021. This increase was primarily due to a $72.8 million growth in programming costs driven by a contractual increase in rates under existing and newly renegotiated affiliation agreements and growth in subscription revenues (certain programming costs are linked to such revenues). Higher digital expenses of $7.6 million driven by growth in Premion also contributed to the increase.
2021 vs. 2019
Cost of revenues increased $370.5 million in 2021. Our 2019 Acquisitions contributed $164.5 million to this increase. Excluding the 2019 Acquisitions, cost of revenues increased $206.0 million. This increase was primarily due to a $179.2 million increase in programming costs driven by a contractual increase in rates under existing and newly renegotiated affiliation agreements and growth in subscription revenues (certain programming costs are linked to such revenues). Higher digital expenses of $12.6 million driven by growth in Premion also contributed to the increase.
Business units - Selling, general and administrative expenses
2021 vs. 2020
Business unit selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) expenses increased $30.8 million in 2021. The increase was primarily due to a $13.9 million increase in legal and professional fees. Marketing costs also rose $8.0 million. Sales commissions and other selling costs also increased by $23.1 million driven by growth in AMS revenues. These increases were partially offset by a $8.7 million reduction in bad debt expense attributed to improved collections.
2021 vs. 2019
Business unit SG&A expenses increased $69.6 million in 2021. Our 2019 Acquisitions added business unit SG&A expenses of $32.9 million. Excluding the 2019 Acquisitions, SG&A expenses increased $36.7 million. The increase was primarily the result of a $20.6 million increase in legal and professional fees. Sales commissions and other selling costs increased by $18.0 million driven by growth in AMS revenues. Stock based compensation expense was also higher by $3.9 million, driven by our higher stock price.
Corporate - General and administrative expenses
Our corporate costs are separated from our direct business expenses and are recorded as general and administrative expenses in our Consolidated Statements of Income. This category primarily consists of corporate management and support functions including Legal, Human Resources, and Finance, as well as activities and costs not directly attributable to the operations of our media business.
2021 vs. 2020
Corporate general and administrative expenses decreased $5.2 million in 2021. The decrease was primarily driven by a $6.5 million reduction in advisory fees related to activism defense, and reduction of $0.9 million of M&A-related costs. Partially offsetting these decreases was an increase in stock based compensation expense of $2.2 million driven by our higher stock price.
2021 vs. 2019
Corporate general and administrative expenses decreased $12.0 million in 2021. The decrease was primarily due to the absence of acquisition-related costs of $30.8 million due to the reduction in acquisition activity in 2021. Partially offsetting this decrease were increases of $10.5 million in advisory fees related to activism defense, $3.7 million in M&A-related costs and $1.8 million in stock based compensation expense due to our higher stock price.
2021 vs. 2020
Depreciation expense decreased $2.0 million in 2021 due to a decline in capital expenditures resulting in less depreciation in 2021 as fewer new assets were placed in service.
2021 vs. 2019
Depreciation expense increased $4.3 million in 2021 driven by our 2019 Acquisitions which contributed $8.0 million to the increase. Excluding the impact of 2019 Acquisitions, depreciation expense decreased $3.7 million due to a decline in capital expenditures following the onset of COVID-19, resulting in less depreciation in 2021 as fewer new assets were placed in service.
Amortization of intangible assets
2021 vs. 2020
Intangible asset amortization expense decreased $4.7 million in 2021. The decrease is due to certain assets reaching the end of their assumed useful lives and therefore becoming fully amortized.
2021 vs. 2019
Intangible asset amortization expense increased $12.9 million in 2021. Our 2019 Acquisitions contributed $23.1 million to this increase. Excluding the impact of the 2019 Acquisitions, amortization expense decreased $10.2 million due to certain assets reaching the end of their assumed useful lives.
Spectrum repacking reimbursements and other, net
2021 vs. 2020
We had other net gains of $2.3 million in 2021 compared to net gains of $10.0 million in 2020. The 2021 activity is related to $4.9 million of reimbursements received from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for required spectrum repacking, partially offset by a $1.5 million contract termination fee and a $1.1 million write off of certain assets. The 2020 net gains primarily consisted of $13.2 million of reimbursements received from the FCC for required spectrum repacking, partially offset by a $2.1 million impairment charge due to the retirement of a brand name and a $1.1 million FCC license impairment charge.
2021 vs. 2019
We had other net gains of $2.3 million in 2021 compared to net gains of $5.3 million in 2019. The 2021 activity consists of the items discussed above. The 2019 net gains consisted of gains of $17.0 million of reimbursements received from the FCC for required spectrum repacking and a gain of $2.9 million as a result of the sale of certain real estate. These gains were partially offset by a $5.5 million in contract termination charge and transition costs related to bringing our national sales organization in-house and $9.1 million of non-cash charges to reduce the value of certain assets classified as held-for-sale.
2021 vs. 2020
Our operating income decreased $68.8 million in 2021. This decrease was driven by the changes in revenue and expenses discussed above, but primarily due to a decline in high-margin political revenue.
2021 vs. 2019
Operating income increased $243.2 million in 2021. Results from our 2019 Acquisitions added operating income of $77.8 million. Excluding the 2019 Acquisitions, operating income increased $165.4 million, driven by the changes in revenue and expenses discussed above, most notably the increases in subscription revenue.
Programming and payroll expense trends
Programming and payroll expenses are the two largest elements of our operating expenses, and are summarized below, expressed as a percentage of total operating expenses. Programming expenses as a percentage of total operating expenses have increased due to an increase in reverse compensation payments to our network affiliation partners. Payroll expenses have increased during 2021, but as a percentage of total operating expenses have decreased in 2021 primarily due to increases in programming expenses, which make up a larger percentage of operating costs.
|Percentage of total operating expenses|
Non-operating income and expense
Equity income: This income statement category reflects earnings or losses from our equity method investments. Equity income decreased from $10.4 million in 2020 to a loss of $9.7 million in 2021. The 2021 loss was primarily due to equity loss from our CareerBuilder investment. The 2020 income was primarily due to equity income from our CareerBuilder investment (recognizing gains driven by the sale of several subsidiary businesses).
Interest expense: Interest expense decreased $24.6 million in 2021 as compared to 2020, primarily due to a lower average outstanding total debt balance, partially offset by higher interest rates. The total average outstanding debt was $3.41 billion in 2021 compared to $4.02 billion in 2020. The impact of the decrease in outstanding debt was partially offset by an increase in the weighted average interest rate on total outstanding debt, which was 5.15% in 2021 compared to 5.03% in 2020.
A further discussion of our borrowing and related interest cost is presented in the “Liquidity and capital resources” section of this report beginning on page 36 and in Note 5 to the consolidated financial statements.
Other non-operating items, net: Other non-operating items increased $40.9 million from a net loss of $34.0 million in 2020 to a net income of $6.8 million in 2021. This change was comprised of 2020 charges absent in 2021 including a $17.3 million call premium related to the repayment of our 2023 and 2024 unsecured senior notes; and acceleration of $11.8 million of previously deferred financing fees associated with early repayment of unsecured senior notes. In addition, the increase was driven by the absence of a $9.2 million impairment of an equity investment in 2020.
Provision for income taxes
We reported pre-tax income of $613.7 million for 2021. The effective tax rate on pre-tax income was 22.1%. The 2021 effective tax rate decreased compared to 24.2% in 2020 primarily due to tax benefits realized as a result of state tax planning strategies and related to a previously-disposed business. Further information concerning income tax matters is contained in Note 4 of the consolidated financial statements.
Net income and related per share amounts are presented in the table below (in thousands, except per share amounts):
|Net income||$||478,197 ||(1%)||$||482,763 |
|Per basic share||$||2.15 ||(2%)||$||2.20 |
|Per diluted share||$||2.14 ||(2%)||$||2.19 |
Our 2021 earnings per share were lower than 2020 due to the factors discussed above including, most notably, the decrease in political revenue following the 2020 presidential election year, partially offset by increases in AMS revenue reflecting higher demand for television and digital advertising (as fiscal year 2020 was adversely impacted by reduced demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and increase in subscription revenue from annual rate increases under existing and newly renegotiated retransmission agreements.
Operating results non-GAAP information
Presentation of non-GAAP information: We use non-GAAP financial performance measures to supplement the financial information presented on a GAAP basis. These non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered in isolation from, or as a substitute for, the related GAAP measures, nor should they be considered superior to the related GAAP measures, and should be read together with financial information presented on a GAAP basis. Also, our non-GAAP measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies.
Management and our Board of Directors use the non-GAAP financial measures for purposes of evaluating company performance. Furthermore, the Leadership Development and Compensation Committee of our Board of Directors uses non-GAAP measures such as Adjusted EBITDA, non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP EPS, and free cash flow to evaluate management’s performance. Therefore, we believe that each of the non-GAAP measures presented provides useful information to investors and other stakeholders by allowing them to view our business through the eyes of management and our Board of Directors, facilitating comparisons of results across historical periods and focus on the underlying ongoing operating performance of our business. We also believe these non-GAAP measures are frequently used by investors, securities analysts and other interested parties in their evaluation of our business and other companies in the broadcast industry.
We discuss in this Form 10-K non-GAAP financial performance measures that exclude from our reported GAAP results the impact of “special items” which are described in detail below in the section titled “Discussion of special charges and credits affecting reporting results”. We believe that such expenses and gains are not indicative of normal, ongoing operations. While these items may be recurring in nature and should not be disregarded in evaluation of our earnings performance, it is useful to exclude such items when analyzing current results and trends compared to other periods as these items can vary significantly from period to period depending on specific underlying transactions or events that may occur. Therefore, while we may incur or recognize these types of expenses, charges and gains in the future, we believe that removing these items for purposes of calculating the non-GAAP financial measures provides investors with a more focused presentation of our ongoing operating performance.
We discuss Adjusted EBITDA (with and without corporate expenses), a non-GAAP financial performance measure that we believe offers a useful view of the overall operation of our businesses. We define Adjusted EBITDA as net income attributable to TEGNA before (1) net (income) loss attributable to redeemable noncontrolling interest, (2) income taxes, (3) interest expense, (4) equity (loss) income in unconsolidated investments, net, (5) other non-operating items, net, (6) workforce restructuring expense, (7) M&A-related costs, (8) advisory fees related to activism defense, (9) spectrum repacking reimbursements and other, net, (10) depreciation and (11) amortization. We believe these adjustments facilitate company-to-company operating performance comparisons by removing potential differences caused by variations unrelated to operating performance, such as capital structures (interest expense), income taxes, and the age and book appreciation of property and equipment (and related depreciation expense). The most directly comparable GAAP financial measure to Adjusted EBITDA is Net income attributable to TEGNA. Users should consider the limitations of using Adjusted EBITDA, including the fact that this measure does not provide a complete measure of our operating performance. Adjusted EBITDA is not intended to purport to be an alternate to net income as a measure of operating performance or to cash flows from operating activities as a measure of liquidity. In particular, Adjusted EBITDA is not intended to be a measure of cash flow available for management’s discretionary expenditures, as this measure does not consider certain cash requirements, such as working capital needs, capital expenditures, contractual commitments, interest payments, tax payments and other debt service requirements.
We also discuss free cash flow, a non-GAAP performance measure that the Board of Directors uses to review the performance of the business. Free cash flow is reviewed by the Board of Directors as a percentage of revenue over a trailing two-year period (reflecting both an even and odd year reporting period given the political cyclicality of our business). The most directly comparable GAAP financial measure to free cash flow is Net income attributable to TEGNA. Free cash flow is calculated as non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA (as defined above), further adjusted by adding back (1) stock-based compensation, (2) non-cash 401(k) company match, (3) syndicated programming amortization, (4) pension reimbursements, (5) dividends received from equity method investments and (6) reimbursements from spectrum repacking. This is further adjusted by deducting payments made for (1) syndicated programming, (2) pension, (3) interest, (4) taxes (net of refunds) and (5) purchases of property and equipment. Like Adjusted EBITDA, free cash flow is not intended to be a measure of cash flow available for management’s discretionary use.
Discussion of special charges and credits affecting reported results: Our results during 2021 and 2020 included the following items we consider “special items” that while at times recurring, can vary significantly from period to period:
Results for the year ended December 31, 2021:
•Spectrum repacking reimbursements and other, net consisting of gains due to reimbursements from the FCC for required spectrum repacking, a contract termination fee and the write off of certain fixed assets;
•Advisory fees related to activism defense;
•M&A-related costs we incurred to assist prospective buyers of our company with their due diligence;
•Other non-operating items consisting of a gain due to an observable price increase in an equity investment and costs incurred in connection with the early extinguishment of debt; and
•Net deferred tax benefits as a result of state tax planning strategies implemented during 2021, deferred tax benefits related to partial capital loss valuation allowance release, and return to provision and deferred adjustments related to the completion of our 2020 state tax returns.
Results for the year ended December 31, 2020:
•Workforce restructuring expense which included payroll and related benefit costs at our stations (including the shutdown of our TMS Phoenix operations) and corporate headquarters;
•M&A-related costs we incurred to assist prospective buyers of our company with their due diligence;
•Advisory fees related to activism defense;
•Spectrum repacking reimbursements and other, net consists of gains due to reimbursements from the FCC for required spectrum repacking, partially offset by an intangible asset impairment charge due to the retirement of a brand name and an FCC license impairment charge related to a radio station;
•Gains recognized in our equity income in unconsolidated investments, primarily related to our share of CareerBuilder’s gain on the sale of certain subsidiary businesses;
•Other non-operating items primarily related to costs incurred in connection with the early extinguishment of debt, and an impairment charge related to one of our investments; and
•Deferred tax benefits related to partial capital loss valuation allowance release.
Below are reconciliations of certain line items impacted by special items to the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP on our Consolidated Statements of Income (in thousands, except per share amounts):
|Year ended Dec. 31, 2021||GAAP|
|Advisory fees related to activism defense||M&A-related costs||Other non-operating items||Spectrum repacking reimbursements and other||Special tax items||Non-GAAP measure|
|Corporate - General and administrative expenses||$||68,127 ||$||(16,611)||$||(3,738)||$||— ||$||— ||$||— ||$||47,778 |
|Spectrum repacking reimbursements and other, net||(2,307)||— ||— ||— ||2,307 ||— ||— |
|Operating expenses||2,188,877 ||(16,611)||(3,738)||— ||2,307 ||— ||2,170,835 |
|Operating income||802,216 ||16,611 ||3,738 ||— ||(2,307)||— ||820,258 |
|Equity loss in unconsolidated investments, net||(9,713)||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||(9,713)|
|Other non-operating items, net||6,825 ||— ||— ||507 ||— ||— ||7,332 |
|Total non-operating expenses||(188,538)||— ||— ||507 ||— ||— ||(188,031)|
|Income before income taxes||613,678 ||16,611 ||3,738 ||507 ||(2,307)||— ||632,227 |
|Provision for income taxes||135,481 ||4,291 ||60 ||127 ||(605)||14,138 ||153,492 |
|Net income attributable to TEGNA Inc.||476,955 ||12,320 ||3,678 ||380 ||(1,702)||(14,138)||477,493 |
|Earnings per share - diluted||$||2.14 ||$||0.06 ||$||0.02 ||$||— ||$||(0.01)||$||(0.06)||$||2.15 |
|Year ended Dec. 31, 2020||GAAP|
|Workforce restructuring expense||M&A-related costs||Advisory fees related to activism defense||Spectrum repacking reimbursements and other||Gains on equity method investments||Other non-operating items||Special tax items||Non-GAAP measure|
|Cost of revenues||$||1,503,287 ||$||(595)||$||— ||$||— ||$||— ||$||— ||$||— ||$||— ||$||1,502,692 |
|Business units - Selling, general and administrative expenses||365,601 ||(372)||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||365,229 |
|Corporate - General and administrative expenses||73,295 ||(54)||(4,588)||(23,087)||— ||— ||— ||— ||45,566 |
|Spectrum repacking reimbursements and other, net||(9,955)||— ||— ||— ||9,955 ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Operating expenses||2,066,798 ||(1,021)||(4,588)||(23,087)||9,955 ||— ||— ||— ||2,048,057 |
|Operating income||870,982 ||1,021 ||4,588 ||23,087 ||(9,955)||— ||— ||— ||889,723 |
|Equity income (loss) in unconsolidated investments, net||10,397 ||— ||— ||— ||— ||(22,606)||— ||— ||(12,209)|
|Other non-operating items, net||(34,029)||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||38,319 ||— ||4,290 |
|Total non-operating expenses||(233,926)||— ||— ||— ||— ||(22,606)||38,319 ||— ||(218,213)|
|Income before income taxes||637,056 ||1,021 ||4,588 ||23,087 ||(9,955)||(22,606)||38,319 ||— ||671,510 |
|Provision for income taxes||154,293 ||256 ||1,151 ||5,801 ||(2,646)||(5,703)||7,357 ||3,944 ||164,453 |
|Net income attributable to TEGNA Inc.||482,778 ||765 ||3,437 ||17,286 ||(7,309)||(16,903)||30,962 ||(3,944)||507,072 |
|Earnings per share - diluted||$||2.19 ||$||— ||$||0.02 ||$||0.08 ||$||(0.03)||$||(0.08)||$||0.14 ||$||(0.02)||$||2.30 |
Non-GAAP consolidated results
The following is a comparison of our as adjusted non-GAAP financial results between 2021 and 2020. Changes between the periods are driven by the same factors summarized above in the “Results of Operations” section within Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (in thousands, except per share amounts).
|Adjusted operating expenses||$||2,170,835 ||6%||$||2,048,057 |
|Adjusted operating income||820,258 ||(8%)||889,723 |
|Adjusted equity loss in unconsolidated investments, net||(9,713)||(20%)||(12,209)|
|Adjusted other non-operating income||7,332 ||71%||4,290 |
|Adjusted total non-operating (expense)||(188,031)||(14%)||(218,213)|
|Adjusted income before income taxes||632,227 ||(6%)||671,510 |
|Adjusted provision for income taxes||153,492 ||(7%)||164,453 |
Adjusted net income attributable to TEGNA Inc.
|477,493 ||(6%)||507,072 |
|Adjusted earnings per share - diluted||$||2.15 ||(7%)||$||2.30 |
Adjusted EBITDA - Non-GAAP
Reconciliations of Adjusted EBITDA (inclusive and exclusive of Corporate expenses) to net income attributable to TEGNA Inc. presented in accordance with GAAP on our Consolidated Statements of Income is presented below (in thousands):
Net income attributable to TEGNA Inc. (GAAP basis)
|$||476,955 ||(1%)||$||482,778 |
|Plus (Less): Net income (loss) attributable to redeemable noncontrolling interest||1,242 ||***||(15)|
|Plus: Provision for income taxes||135,481 ||(12%)||154,293 |
|Plus: Interest expense||185,650 ||(12%)||210,294 |
|Plus (Less): Equity loss (income) in unconsolidated investments, net||9,713 ||***||(10,397)|
|(Less) Plus: Other non-operating items, net||(6,825)||***||34,029 |
|Operating income (GAAP basis)||$||802,216 ||(8%)||$||870,982 |
|Plus: Workforce restructuring expense||— ||(100%)||1,021 |
|Plus: M&A-related costs||3,738 ||(19%)||4,588 |
|Plus: Advisory fees related to activism defense||16,611 ||(28)||23,087 |
|Less: Spectrum repacking reimbursements and other, net||(2,307)||(77%)||(9,955)|
|Adjusted operating income (non-GAAP basis)||$||820,258 ||(8%)||$||889,723 |
|64,841 ||(3%)||66,880 |
|Plus: Amortization of intangible assets||63,011 ||(7%)||67,690 |
|Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP basis)||$||948,110 ||(7%)||$||1,024,293 |
|Corporate - General and administrative expense (non-GAAP basis)||47,778 ||5%||45,566 |
|Adjusted EBITDA, excluding Corporate (non-GAAP basis)||$||995,888 ||(7%)||$||1,069,859 |
*** Not meaningful
Adjusted EBITDA margin was 33% (without corporate expense) and 32% including corporate. Our total Adjusted EBITDA decreased $76.2 million or 7% in 2021 compared to 2020. This decrease was primarily driven by the operational factors discussed above within the revenue and operating expense fluctuation explanation sections, most notably, the decrease in political revenue in 2021, following the 2020 presidential election year.
Free cash flow reconciliation
Reconciliations from “Net income attributable to TEGNA Inc.” to “Free cash flow” are presented below (in thousands):
|Two-year period ended December 31,|
|Net Income attributable to TEGNA Inc. (GAAP basis)||$||959,733||$||769,013|
| Plus: Provision for income taxes||289,774||243,715|
| Plus: Interest expense||395,944||415,764|
| Plus: M&A-related costs||8,326||35,344|
| Plus: Depreciation||131,721||127,405|
| Plus: Amortization||130,701||117,794|
| Plus: Stock-based compensation||51,821||40,452|
| Plus: Company stock 401(k) contribution||33,611||26,027|
| Plus: Syndicated programming amortization||141,752||131,835|
| Plus: Reimbursement from Company-owned life insurance policies||1,005||—|
| Plus: Workforce restructuring expense||1,021||7,385|
| Plus: Advisory fees related to activism defense||39,698||29,167|
| Plus: Cash dividend from equity investments for return on capital||11,806||7,698|
| Plus: Cash reimbursements from spectrum repacking||18,122||30,154|
| Plus: Other non-operating items, net||27,204||22,069|
| Plus: Net loss attributable to redeemable noncontrolling interest||1,227||(15)|
| Less: Income tax payments||(264,053)||(168,934)|
| Less: Spectrum repacking reimbursement and other, net||(12,262)||(15,290)|
| Less: Equity income in unconsolidated investments, net||(684)||(20,546)|
| Less: Syndicated programming payments||(147,305)||(132,715)|
| Less: Pension contributions||(11,470)||(28,234)|
| Less: Interest payments||(380,569)||(386,852)|
| Less: Purchases of property and equipment||(108,575)||(133,855)|
|Free cash flow (non-GAAP basis)||$||1,318,548||$||1,117,381|
|Free cash flow as a % of revenue||22.2 ||%||21.3 ||%|
Our free cash flow, a non-GAAP performance measure, was $1.32 billion and $1.12 billion for the two-year periods ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. The increase in free cash flow is primarily due to increases in retransmission and political revenue.
Liquidity and capital resources
Our operations have historically generated strong positive cash flow which, along with availability under our existing revolving credit facility and cash and cash equivalents on hand, have been sufficient to fund our capital expenditures, interest expense, dividends, investments in strategic initiatives (including acquisitions) and other operating requirements.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching impacts on many aspects of our operations, directly and indirectly, including our employees, consumer behavior, distribution of our content, our vendors, and the overall market. The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with regard to the broader advertising industry, remains uncertain and continues to evolve. However, during 2021, the U.S. economy continued on a path towards recovery with millions of Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccines, states and municipalities increasingly reopening and continued growth in employment, although the development of new variants of the virus continues to cause concern. In addition, the U.S. federal government continued to enact policies to provide fiscal stimulus to the economy and relief to those affected by the pandemic, with stimulus bolstering household finances as well as those of small businesses, states and municipalities.
The improving conditions around the pandemic, coupled with strategic actions we’ve taken with our 2020 and 2019 debt refinancings and reduction of discretionary spending, have helped strengthen our financial position. On March 29, 2021, we
announced that our Board of Directors approved a dividend increase of ten cents per share on an annual basis, to $0.38 per common share, which represents an approximately 36% increase above the prior dividend. We paid dividends totaling $78.5 million in 2021 and $76.5 million in 2020. We expect to continue to pay our regular quarterly dividend of $0.095 per share through the closing of the Merger, which is the maximum rate and frequency permitted by the Merger Agreement.
As of December 31, 2021, we were in compliance with all covenants contained in our debt agreements and credit facility and our leverage ratio, calculated in accordance with our revolving credit agreement, was 3.19x, well below the permitted leverage ratio of less than 5.50x. The leverage ratio is calculated using annualized adjusted EBITDA (as defined in the agreement) for the trailing eight quarters. We believe that we will remain compliant with all covenants for the foreseeable future. Our financial and operating performance, as well as our ability to generate sufficient cash flow to maintain compliance with credit facility covenants, are subject to certain risk factors; see Item 1A. “Risk Factors” for further discussion.
An important use of our liquidity pertains to purchasing programming rights. Most of our stations have network affiliations agreements with major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox). Under these agreements, the television networks produce and distribute programming to us in exchange for our stations commitments to air the programming at specified times and to pay the networks compensation at fixed or variable rates (such as a rate per number of MVPD subscribers accessing the programming). The network affiliation agreements generally have a three-year term. In addition, programming rights include acquired syndicated programming (television series and movies that are purchased on a group basis for use by our owned stations). These contracts typically cover a period of up to five years, with payments typically made over several years. As of December 31,2021, we had total programming commitments of $1.35 billion, of which $808.4 million will be settled within the next twelve months. See Note 11 to the consolidated financial statements for further details regarding programming commitments.
We also secure our on-air talent and other key personnel at our television stations through multi-year talent and employment agreements. We expect our contracts for talent and other key personnel will be renewed or replaced with similar agreements upon their expiration. As of December 31, 2021, amounts due under these contracts were approximately $236.8 million, of which approximately $133.6 million will be paid within the next twelve months.
Other material contractual obligations include our operating leases (see Note 7 to the consolidated financial statements for further details) as well as our long-term debt and interest payments (see ‘Long-term debt’ section below, as well as Note 5 to the consolidated financial statements for further details).
The following table provides a summary of our cash flow information for the three years ended December 31, 2021 followed by a discussion of the key elements of our cash flows (in thousands):
|Cash at beginning of year||$||40,968 ||$||29,404 ||$||135,862 |
| Net income||478,197 ||482,763 ||286,235 |
| Depreciation, amortization and other non-cash adjustments||204,461 ||202,189 ||156,858 |
| Pension expense, net of pension contribution||(19,139)||(10,400)||(19,447)|
| (Increase) decrease in accounts receivable||(88,687)||27,474 ||(86,245)|
| (Decrease) increase in interest and taxes payable||(53,303)||66,466 ||(8,284)|
| Other, net||(19,917)||36,644 ||(31,644)|
|Net cash flows from operating activities||501,612 ||805,136 ||297,473 |
|Payments for acquisitions of businesses, net of cash acquired||(13,335)||(34,841)||(1,514,183)|
|All other investing activities||(55,921)||(24,680)||(49,287)|
|Net cash used for investing activities||(69,256)||(59,521)||(1,563,470)|
|Net cash (used for) provided by financing activities||(416,335)||(734,051)||1,159,539 |
|Net change in cash||16,021 ||11,564 ||(106,458)|
|Cash at end of year||$||56,989 ||$||40,968 ||$||29,404 |
Cash flow from operating activities was $501.6 million in 2021, compared to $805.1 million in 2020. This $303.5 million decrease was primarily driven by a $385.0 million decrease in political revenue. As political advertisements are typically paid upfront, they provide an immediate benefit to operating cash flow as compared to non-political advertising which is billed and collected in arrears after the advertisement has been delivered. Also contributing to the decrease was an increase in tax payments of $94.3 million in 2021 as compared to 2020. This increase was driven by the adverse impact of COVID-19 on our 2020 financial results, particularly during the first six months of 2020. The subsequent recovery in demand for advertising thereafter resulted in an increase in our taxable income and led to the increase in tax payments in 2021. Partially offsetting the decline in operating cash flow was a $21.0 million decline in interest payments due to a lower average debt balance in 2021, mainly driven by a lower average balance on our revolving credit facility.
Cash flow used for investing activities was $69.3 million in 2021, compared to $59.5 million in 2020. The increase of $9.8 million was primary due to a $17.6 million increase in the purchase of property and equipment, a decrease in spectrum reimbursement of $8.2 million and $21.5 million less being spent on acquisitions in 2021 as compared to 2020.
Cash flow used for financing activities was $416.3 million in 2021, compared to $734.1 million in 2020. The change was primarily due to debt activity in 2020. Specifically, in January 2020 we issued $1.0 billion of unsecured notes, the proceeds of which were used to redeem $650.0 million of unsecured notes due in October 2023 and $310.0 million due in July 2020. Additionally, in September 2020 we issued $550 million of senior unsecured notes. In October 2020, we repaid the entire $350 million aggregate principal amount of our 4.875% senior unsecured notes due in 2021 and $188 million aggregate principal amount of our 5.500% senior unsecured notes due in 2024. We incurred fees of $41.4 million related to this debt activity and an amendment of the revolving credit facility.
We also had net repayments of $189.0 million on our revolving credit facility in 2021 as compared to net repayments of $548.0 million in 2020. In addition, in 2021 we repaid the remaining $137 million of our 5.500% unsecured senior notes, which were due in September 2024.
For a comparative discussion of changes in our cash flow comparing the years ended December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, see “Part II, Item 7. Financial Position” of our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, filed with the SEC on March 1, 2021.
As of December 31, 2021, our total principal debt outstanding was $3.26 billion, cash and cash equivalents totaled $57.0 million, and we had unused borrowing capacity of $1.33 billion under our revolving credit facility, which is our primary source for funding short-term cash requirements. As of December 31, 2021, approximately $3.09 billion, or 95%, of our debt had a fixed interest rate. See “Note 5 Long-term debt” to our consolidated financial statements for a table summarizing the components of our long-term debt.
On December 3, 2021 we utilized available cash and our revolving credit facility to repay the remaining $137 million of our 5.500% unsecured senior notes, which were due in September 2024. We incurred $1.3 million of early redemption fees and wrote off $1.2 million of unamortized financing fees and discounts related to this early payoff of the 2024 notes.
We expect our existing cash and cash equivalents, cash flow from our operations and borrowing capacity under the revolving credit facility will be sufficient to satisfy our debt service obligations, capital expenditure requirements, and working capital needs for the next twelve months and beyond. Our interest payments may be repaid with cash flow from operating activities, accessing capital markets or a combination of both. Interest payments on the senior notes are based on the stated cash coupon rate. As of December 31, 2021, we had future interest payments on our senior notes of $1.00 billion, of which $160.3 million will be paid within the next twelve months. We also had $166.0 million of outstanding borrowings under our revolving credit facility as of December 31, 2021. Future interest payments on the revolving credit facility are not known with certainty as payments into and out of the credit facility can change daily and interest payments are based on variable interest rates. For illustrative purposes, assuming the December 31, 2021 revolving credit facility balance does not change during 2022 and rates remain at the same level as those existing as of December 31, 2021, we estimate interest payments in 2022 will be approximately $5.3 million.
The following schedule discloses future annual maturities of the principal amount of total debt due (in thousands):
|Repayment schedule of principal long-term debt as of Dec. 31, 2021|
(1) Assumes the current revolving credit facility borrowings come due in 2024 and the revolving credit facility is not extended.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
Off-balance sheet arrangements as defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission include the following four categories: obligations under certain guarantee contracts; retained or contingent interests in assets transferred to an unconsolidated entity or similar arrangements that serve as credit, liquidity or market risk support; obligations under certain derivative arrangements classified as equity; and obligations under material variable interests. As of December 31, 2021, we had no off-balance sheet arrangements that have, or are reasonably likely to have, a current or future material effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, liquidity, capital expenditures or capital resources.
In December 2020, our Board of Directors authorized a new share repurchase program for up to $300.0 million of our common stock over the next three years. From 2019 through 2021, no shares were repurchased. Certain of the shares we previously acquired have been reissued in settlement of employee stock awards. As a result of the announcement of the Merger Agreement on February 22, 2022, we have suspended share repurchases under this program.
Our common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2021, totaled 221,406,177 shares, compared with 219,500,272 shares as of December 31, 2020.
Critical accounting policies and estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions about future events that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements and accompanying notes. Actual results could differ significantly from those estimates. We believe the following discussion addresses our most critical accounting policies, which are those that are material to the presentation of our financial condition and results of operations and require management’s most subjective and complex judgments. This commentary should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the remainder of this Form 10-K.
Goodwill: As of December 31, 2021, our goodwill balance was $2.98 billion and represented approximately 43% of our total assets. Goodwill represents the excess of acquisition cost over the fair value of assets acquired, including identifiable intangible assets, net of liabilities assumed.
Goodwill is tested for impairment at a level referred to as the reporting unit. A reporting unit is a business for which discrete financial information is available and segment management regularly reviews the operating results. The level at which we test goodwill for impairment requires us to determine whether the operations below the operating segment level constitute a reporting unit. We have determined that our one segment, Media, consists of a single reporting unit.
Goodwill is tested for impairment on an annual basis (first day of our fourth quarter) or between annual tests if events or changes in circumstances occurred that indicate the fair value of a reporting unit may be below its carrying amount.
Before performing the annual goodwill impairment test quantitatively, we first have the option to perform a qualitative assessment to determine if the quantitative test must be completed. The qualitative assessment considers events and circumstances such as macroeconomic conditions, industry and market conditions, cost factors and overall financial performance, as well as company and specific reporting unit specifications. If after performing this assessment, we conclude it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount, then we are required to perform the quantitative test. Otherwise, the quantitative test is not required. In 2021, we elected not to perform the optional qualitative assessment of goodwill and instead performed the quantitative impairment test.
When performing the quantitative test, we determine the fair value of the reporting unit and compare it to the carrying amount, including goodwill. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit exceeds the fair value of the reporting unit, the reporting unit’s goodwill is impaired and we recognize an impairment loss equal to the difference between the reporting unit’s carrying amount and fair value.
We estimate the fair value of our one reporting unit based on a market-based valuation methodology, which is primarily based on our consolidated market capitalization plus a control premium. In the fourth quarter of 2021 we completed our annual goodwill impairment test for our reporting unit. The results of the test indicated that the estimated fair value of our reporting unit significantly exceeded the carrying value. We do not believe that the reporting unit is currently at risk of incurring a goodwill impairment in the foreseeable future.
Impairment assessment inherently involves management judgments regarding the assumptions described above. Fair value of the reporting unit also depends on the future strength of the economy in our principal media markets. New and developing competition as well as technological change could also adversely affect our stock price and future fair value estimates.
Indefinite Lived Intangibles: This category consists entirely of FCC broadcast licenses related to our acquisitions of television stations. As of December 31, 2021, indefinite lived intangible assets were $2.12 billion and represented approximately 31% of our total assets.
The FCC broadcast licenses are recorded at their estimated fair value as of the date of the business acquisition. We determine the fair value of each FCC broadcast license using an income approach referred to as the Greenfield method. The Greenfield method utilizes a discounted cash flow model that incorporates several key assumptions, including market revenues, long-term growth projections, estimated market share for a typical market participant, estimated profit margins based on market size and station type, and a discount rate (determined using a weighted average cost of capital). Because these licenses are considered indefinite lived intangible assets we do not amortize them. Instead, they are tested for impairment annually (on the first day of our fourth quarter), or more often if circumstances dictate, for impairment and written down to fair value as required.
We have the option to first perform a qualitative assessment to determine if it is more likely than not that the fair value of the indefinite lived asset is more than its carrying amount. If that is the case, then we do not need to perform the quantitative analysis. The qualitative assessment considers trends in macroeconomic conditions, industry and market conditions, cost factors and overall financial performance of the indefinite lived asset. In 2021, we elected not to perform the optional qualitative assessment, and instead performed the quantitative impairment assessment for all of our FCC broadcast licenses. We have FCC licenses acquired in the KFMB-San Diego station acquisition in 2018 as well as those acquired in our 2019 acquisitions (Gray stations, Dispatch stations, and Nexstar stations), which represented an aggregate carrying value of $897.7 million. These licenses have more limited headroom due to the fact that we recently recorded them at fair value upon their respective acquisition, and as a result are more susceptible to the risk of impairment due to changes in underlying market factors.
The quantitative analysis performed included projected estimated economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in key fair value assumptions used in our analysis could result in future non-cash impairment charges, and any related impairment could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations. Changes in key fair value assumptions that could result in a future impairment charge include increases in discount rates and declines in market revenues. A 100 basis point increase in our discount rate or a 10% decline in market revenues (holding all other assumptions in the fair value model constant) would result in an aggregate impairment charge of approximately $17.0 million or less.
Pension Liabilities: Certain employees participate in qualified and non-qualified defined benefit pension plans (see Note 6 to consolidated financial statements). Our principal defined benefit pension plan is the TEGNA Retirement Plan (TRP). We also sponsor the TEGNA Supplemental Retirement Plan (SERP) for certain employees. Substantially all participants in the TRP and SERP had their benefits frozen before 2009, and in December 2017, we froze all remaining accruing benefits for certain grandfathered SERP participants.
We recognize the net funded status of these postretirement benefit plans as a liability on our Consolidated Balance Sheets. There is a corresponding non-cash adjustment to accumulated other comprehensive loss, net of tax benefits recorded as deferred tax assets, in stockholders’ equity. The funded status represents the difference between the fair value of each plan’s assets and the benefit obligation of the plan. The benefit obligation represents the present value of the estimated future benefits we currently expect to pay to plan participants based on past service.
The plan assets and benefit obligations are measured as of December 31 of each year, or more frequently, upon the occurrence of certain events such as a plan amendment, settlement, or curtailment. The amounts we record are measured using actuarial valuations, which are dependent upon key assumptions such as discount rates, participant mortality rates and the expected long-term rate of return on plan assets. The assumptions we make affect both the calculation of the benefit obligations as of the measurement date and the calculation of net periodic pension expense in subsequent periods. When reassessing these assumptions we consider past and current market conditions and make judgments about future market trends. We also consider factors such as the timing and amounts of expected contributions to the plans and benefit payments to plan participants.
The most important assumptions include the discount rate applied to pension plan obligations and the expected long-term rate of return on plan assets related for the TRP (the SERP is an unfunded plan). The discount rate assumption is based on investment yields available at year-end on corporate bonds rated AA and above with a maturity to match the expected benefit payment stream. A decrease in discount rates would increase pension obligations.
We establish the expected long-term rate of return by developing a forward-looking, long-term return assumption for each pension fund asset class, taking into account factors such as the expected real return for the specific asset class and inflation. A single, long-term rate of return is then calculated as the weighted average of the target asset allocation percentages and the long-term return assumption for each asset class. We apply the expected long-term rate of return to the fair value of its pension assets in determining the dollar amount of its expected return. Changes in the expected long-term return on plan assets would increase or decrease pension plan expense. For 2021, we assumed a rate of 6.50% for our long-term expected return on pension assets used for our TRP plan. As an indication of the sensitivity of pension expense to the long-term rate of return assumption, a plus or minus 50 basis points change in the expected rate of return on pension assets (with all other assumptions held constant) would have decreased or increased estimated pension plan expense for 2021 by approximately $2.7 million. The effects of actual results differing from this assumption is accumulated as unamortized gains and losses.
For the December 31, 2021 measurement, the assumption used for the discount rate was 2.89% for our TRP and SERP plans. As an indication of the sensitivity of pension liabilities to the discount rate assumption, a plus or minus 50 basis points change in the discount rate as of the end of 2021 (with all other assumptions held constant) would have decreased or increased plan obligations by approximately $30.9 million. For 2021, the discount rate used to determine the pension expense was 2.54%. A 50 basis points increase or decrease in this discount rate would have decreased or increased total pension plan expense for 2021 by approximately $0.6 million.
Income Taxes: Our annual tax rate is based on our income, statutory tax rates, and tax planning opportunities available in the various jurisdictions in which we operate. Significant judgment is required in determining our annual tax expense and in evaluating our tax positions.
Tax law requires certain items to be included in our tax returns at different times than when the items are reflected in the financial statements. The annual tax expense reflected in the Consolidated Statements of Income is different than that reported in our tax returns. Some of these differences are permanent (for example, expenses recorded for accounting purposes that are not deductible in the returns such as certain entertainment expenses) and some differences are temporary and reverse over time, such as depreciation expense. Temporary differences create deferred tax assets and liabilities. Deferred tax liabilities generally represent tax expense recognized in the financial statements for which payment has been deferred, or expense for which a deduction has been taken already in the tax return but the expense has not yet been recognized in the financial statements. Deferred tax assets generally represent items that can be used as a tax deduction or credit in tax returns in future years for which a benefit has already been recorded in the financial statements, as well as tax losses that can be carried over and used in future years. Valuation allowances are established when necessary to reduce deferred income tax assets to the amounts we believe are more likely than not to be recovered. In evaluating the amount of any such valuation allowance, we consider the existence of cumulative income or losses in recent years, the reversal of existing temporary differences, the existence of taxable income in prior carry back years, available tax planning strategies and estimates of future taxable income for each of our taxable jurisdictions. The latter two factors involve the exercise of significant judgment. As of December 31, 2021, deferred tax asset valuation allowances totaled $41.9 million, primarily related to federal and state capital losses, accrued compensation costs, minority investments, state interest disallowance carryovers, and state net operating losses available for carry forward to future years. Although realization is not assured, we believe it is more likely than not that all other deferred tax assets for which no valuation allowances have been established will be realized. This conclusion is based on our history of cumulative income in recent years and review of historical and projected future taxable income.
We determine whether it is more likely than not that a tax position will be sustained upon examination by the appropriate taxing authorities before any part of the benefit is recorded in our financial statements. A tax position is measured as the portion of the tax benefit that is greater than 50% likely to be realized upon settlement with a taxing authority (that has full knowledge of all relevant information). We may be required to change our provision for income taxes when the ultimate treatment of certain items is challenged or agreed to by taxing authorities, when estimates used in determining valuation allowances on deferred tax assets significantly change, or when receipt of new information indicates the need for adjustment in valuation allowances. Future events, such as changes in tax laws, tax regulations, or interpretations of such laws or regulations, could have an impact on the provision for income tax and the effective tax rate. Any such changes could significantly affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements in the year these changes occur.
ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
Market risk is the potential gain/loss arising from changes in market rates and prices, such as interest rates and changes in the market value of financial instruments. Our main exposure to market risk relates to interest rates. We had $166.0 million in floating interest rate obligations outstanding on December 31, 2021, and therefore are subject to changes in the amount of interest expense we might incur. A 50 basis point increase or decrease in the average interest rate for these obligations would result in an increase or decrease in annual interest expense of $0.8 million. Refer to Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements for information regarding the fair value of our long-term debt.
We believe that our market risk from financial instruments, such as accounts receivable, accounts payable and debt, is not material.
ITEM 8.FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Shareholders and Board of Directors of TEGNA Inc.
Opinions on the Financial Statements and Internal Control over Financial Reporting
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of TEGNA Inc. and its subsidiaries (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, and the related consolidated statements of income, of comprehensive income, of equity and redeemable noncontrolling interest and of cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2021, including the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). We also have audited the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO).
In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2021 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Also in our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the COSO.
Basis for Opinions
The Company’s management is responsible for these consolidated financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in Management’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting appearing under Item 9A. Our responsibility is to express opinions on the Company’s consolidated financial statements and on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud, and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.
Our audits of the consolidated financial statements included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.
Definition and Limitations of Internal Control over Financial Reporting
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (i) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (ii) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (iii) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
Critical Audit Matters
The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the consolidated financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that (i) relates to accounts or
disclosures that are material to the consolidated financial statements and (ii) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.
Impairment assessments for certain FCC broadcast licenses acquired in the KFMB, Gray stations, Dispatch stations, and Nexstar stations acquisitions
As described in Notes 1 and 2 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company’s consolidated FCC broadcast licenses balance was $2.1 billion as of December 31, 2021, of which $897.7 million related to FCC broadcast licenses acquired in the KFMB, Gray stations, Dispatch stations, and Nexstar stations acquisitions. In 2021, the Company elected to perform a quantitative impairment assessment for all FCC licenses. Intangible assets with indefinite lives are tested annually, or more often if circumstances dictate, for impairment and written down to fair value as required. Fair value is estimated by management using an income approach called the Greenfield method. The Greenfield method utilizes a discounted cash flow model that incorporates several key assumptions, including but not limited to market revenues, estimated profit margins based on market size and station type, and the discount rate (determined by management using a weighted average cost of capital).
The principal considerations for our determination that performing procedures relating to the impairment assessments for certain FCC broadcast licenses acquired in the KFMB, Gray stations, Dispatch stations, and Nexstar stations acquisitions is a critical audit matter are the significant judgment by management when developing the fair value measurement of the FCC broadcast licenses. This in turn led to a high degree of auditor judgment, subjectivity, and effort in performing procedures and evaluating management’s significant assumptions related to market revenues, estimated profit margins based on market size and station type, and the discount rate. In addition, the audit effort involved the use of professionals with specialized skill and knowledge.
Addressing the matter involved performing procedures and evaluating audit evidence in connection with forming our overall opinion on the consolidated financial statements. These procedures included testing the effectiveness of controls relating to management’s impairment assessments, including controls over the valuation of the Company’s FCC broadcast licenses for certain licenses acquired in the KFMB, Gray stations, Dispatch stations, and Nexstar stations acquisitions. These procedures also included, among others, (i) testing management’s process for developing the fair value estimates; (ii) evaluating the appropriateness of the discounted cash flow model; (iii) testing the completeness, accuracy, and relevance of underlying data used in the model; and (iv) evaluating the significant assumptions used by management related to market revenues, estimated profit margins based on market size and station type, and the discount rate. Evaluating management’s assumptions related to market revenues and estimated profit margins based on market size and station type involved evaluating whether the assumptions used by management were reasonable considering (i) the current and past performance in the market being evaluated, (ii) the consistency with external market and industry data, and (iii) whether these assumptions were consistent with evidence obtained in other areas of the audit. The discount rate was evaluated by considering the cost of capital of comparable businesses and other industry factors. Professionals with specialized skill and knowledge were used to assist in the evaluation of the Company’s discount rate assumption.
/s/ PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Washington, District of Columbia
March 1, 2022
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2018.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
|In thousands of dollars|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||56,989 ||$||40,968 |
Accounts receivable, net of allowances of $4,371 and $7,035, respectively
|642,280 ||550,755 |
|Other receivables||15,496 ||14,031 |
|Syndicated programming rights||53,100 ||47,331 |
Prepaid expenses and other current assets
|19,724 ||19,509 |
Total current assets
|787,589 ||672,594 |
|Property and equipment|
|Land||86,447 ||86,456 |
|Buildings and improvements||341,112 ||329,088 |
|Equipment, furniture and fixtures||615,531 ||593,517 |
|Construction in progress||10,761 ||17,398 |