Strong political advertising moves up the group’s revenue from $33.7 million in 4Q 2007 to $35 million.
Fisher Communications Inc. today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008.
While its television revenue increased 12% in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared with the same period a year earlier, that increase was primarily due to the addition of KBAK and KBFX in Bakersfield, Calif., acquired on Jan. 1. On a same-station basis, Fisher’s 2008 fourth quarter TV segment revenue (which includes Internet) was $35 million compared with $33.7 million for the same period in 2007, an increase of 3.9%. The increase was primarily attributable to higher political revenue, Fisher said.
The company noted that there were significant declines in key advertising categories including automotive (down 44%) and retail (down 12%).
Despite virtually no presidential campaign spending in Fisher markets, gross television political revenue increased $8.5 million from the fourth quarter of 2007 to $13.8 million in the 2008 fourth quarter.
Television broadcast cash flow margin was 40% in the quarter, unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2007.
Fisher President and Chief Executive Officer Colleen B. Brown commented: “The economic slowdown deepened in the fourth quarter, which resulted in further declines in advertising spending, most notably in the key categories of automotive and retail. Despite the weakening advertising picture, Fisher was able to increase same-station revenue, in the fourth quarter as well as 2008 as a whole, due to strong political spending and improved market share in a majority of our markets.
“In this weak economic environment, we will remain focused on improving our operational performance. We will continue to aggressively compete for every advertising dollar and strategically identify new streams of revenue, including retransmission from our distribution partners, our Internet platform and our digital spectrum. We also will maintain a disciplined focus on containing costs, but are mindful of avoiding decisions that will undermine the significant momentum we have achieved in improving our operations over the past several years.”
The company as a whole reported revenues for the fourth quarter of 2008 of $47.7 million, compared to revenues of $44.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2007, a 7.2% increase.