DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) ¿ Media company Meredith Corp. posted a 45 percent drop in fiscal third quarter earnings Wednesday, reflecting the advertising downturn that is wracking the magazine industry. The Des Moines, Iowa company, which publishes Better Homes and Gardens and the Ladies' Home Journal, said its net income for the three months ended March 31 came to $25 million, or 56 cents per share. That compares with $46 million, or 97 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue dropped to $338 million, down 14 percent from $392 million. Analysts expected a profit of 54 cents per share on sales of $351 million, according to a Thomson Reuters survey. Despite the advertising slump, Meredith ¿ which also operates broadcast TV stations ¿ said it managed to expand its market share during the quarter, grow new sources of revenue and cut costs. The company said its share of national magazine advertising climbed to 11.1 percent from 9.4 percent, revenue from retransmission fees more than doubled from a year ago and operating costs fell 6 percent. The gains were offset, however, by a 12 percent drop in ad revenue in Meredith's publishing division and a 31 percent drop in ad revenue at broadcast stations. The company sees another year-over-year ad decline in publishing of 12 percent for its fiscal fourth quarter and a 32 percent decline in broadcast. Meredith projected earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 52 cents to 57 cents. Analysts are looking for 55 cents per share.
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