Lower ad revenue can’t offset higher political and digital money. Net revenues drop to $104.2 million from $108.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Operating loss is $732.2 million.
LIN TV Corp. today reported results for the fourth quarter 2008. Its net revenues decreased 4% to $104.2 million, compared to $108.6 million for the same quarter in 2007, primarily due to the decline in television advertising in LIN TV’s markets.
Political revenues were $24.4 million, compared to $3.2 million for the same quarter in 2007.
Digital revenues increased 96% to $9.3 million, compared to $4.8 million for the same quarter in 2007.
Retransmission consent fees increased 128% in the fourth quarter. During the fourth quarter, the company reached a new retransmission consent agreement for both its analog and high-definition channels with Time Warner.
General operating expenses decreased 1% or $0.6 million to $71.7 million, compared to $72.3 million for the same quarter in 2007.
Operating loss was $722.6 million, including a non-cash impairment charge of $732.2 million and a restructuring charge of $12.9 million, compared to operating income of $54.6 million in 2007.
Core local and national advertising sales combined, which excludes political advertising sales, decreased 26% to $82.4 million in the fourth quarter 2008, compared to $111.6 million for the same period in 2007.
Advertising categories for which revenues decreased for the fourth quarter of 2008, compared to the same quarter last year, were automotive, retail, restaurants, media/telecommunications, services, financial services and entertainment. Advertising categories for which revenues increased for the fourth quarter of 2008 included political, home improvement and travel and leisure. The automotive category, which represented 22% of the Company’s core advertising sales for the fourth quarter of 2008, decreased 40% compared to the same quarter last year. The retail category, which also represented 22% of Company’s core advertising sales for the fourth quarter of 2008, decreased 12% compared to the same quarter last year.
Commenting on the fourth quarter results, LIN TV’s President and Chief Executive Officer Vincent L. Sadusky said: “We are operating in a severe recessive economy and the financial distress on automakers, as well as the significant declines in consumer and business spending, are negatively impacting television advertising sales. In response, we have taken significant actions to improve our efficiency, as well as our balance sheet. Our plans to adjust our cost structure, re-engineer workflow throughout our TV stations, and execute an aggressive program to reduce our debt should positively impact our operating performance and financial condition.”
“Our leading news stations are focused on maximizing multi-platform advertising spending, new business development and digital revenue growth. Digital revenues continue to differentiate our company and were a major factor in our ability to increase net revenues by 1% in 2008. Compared to our peers, LIN TV delivered one of our industry’s strongest results.”
“Despite the negative outlook on the economy, we remain positive. We are confident in the fundamentals of the TV broadcast business and our ability to expand digitally. We expect to operate a very healthy and cost efficient business now and well into the future.”