What happened

Media and TV broadcasting company TEGNA (TGNA -2.43%) jumped on Friday. Shares rose as much as 18.3%. As of 12:02 p.m. EST, the stock was up 14.7%.

The stock's gain follows TEGNA's fourth-quarter results, which included better-than-expected revenue and earnings per share and record free cash flow.

A chart showing a stock price moving higher

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

TEGNA's fourth-quarter revenue rose 31% year over year to $642 million. Key catalysts for this growth included a 51% increase in political revenue compared to the prior 2014 midterm election cycle and a 22% year-over-year increase in subscription revenue. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue of $637 million. 

The company's earnings per share rose 131% year over year to $0.74, beating the consensus analyst estimate for $0.70.

TEGNA also generated record fourth-quarter and full-year free cash flow of $167 million and $469 million, respectively, helping the company pay down debt and invest in growth initiatives and acquisitions.

"We continue to benefit from the strength of our stations and industry-leading subscription trends," said TEGNA CEO Dave Lougee in the company's fourth-quarter earnings release.

Click here for the latest earnings call transcript for TEGNA.

Now what

Management is optimistic about the company's path ahead.

"Going forward, through innovation and execution, we will continue to drive organic growth and create value for our shareholders," said Lougee. "And with our strong balance sheet, we remain committed to proactively pursue [mergers and acquisitions] opportunities that align with our long-term strategy."

Importantly, the company said it expects its subscription revenue in 2019 to increase at a year-over-year percentage rate in the mid-teens.