Core local and national sales were down 24% to $72.3 million, with the automotive category plunging 46% from the year before.
LIN TV Corp. today reported first quarter 2009 results including a 20 percent drop in net revenues to $74.5 million from to $93.1 million in the first quarter of 2008.
Core local and national advertising sales combined, which excludes political advertising sales, decreased 24% to $72.3 million in the first quarter 2009, compared to $95.6 million for the same period in 2008, reflecting the continued impact of the economic downturn nationally and across all of the company’s markets.
Advertising categories for which revenues decreased for the first quarter of 2009, 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 first quarter of 2009 included grocery and lottery/gambling. The automotive category, which represented 17% of the company’s core advertising sales for the first quarter of 2009, decreased 46% compared to the same quarter last year.
The retail category, which represented 17% of LIN’s core advertising sales for the first quarter of 2009, decreased 15% compared to the same quarter last year.
The company’s political advertising sales were $0.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, compared to $3.2 million in the same period last year.
Digital revenues, which include Internet advertising revenues and retransmission consent fees, increased 82% to $8.9 million, compared to $4.9 million in the first quarter of 2008.
General operating expenses decreased 9% from $69.8 million in the first quarter 2008, to $63.3 million in the first quarter 2009, reflecting the benefit of the 2008 restructuring, as well as other cost-saving measures implemented in 2009.
Operating income was $4.8 million, compared to operating income of $15.6 million in the first quarter of 2008, reflecting the decline in local, national, and political advertising sales.
Commenting on the first quarter 2009 results, LIN TV’s President-CEO Vincent L.
Sadusky said: “In a recessionary environment impacting every segment of the economy, we delivered first quarter business results consistent with our guidance. We are making important progress on all fronts of our cost and debt reduction programs, while still supporting initiatives to strengthen our local brands, improve the newsgathering process and maximize broadcast efficiency.
“In addition, we continue to advance our localized digital strategy, investing in initiatives and partnerships that will generate new revenue opportunities. The focus remains on significantly changing the company’s historic TV business model in order to operate a very healthy and cost-efficient multimedia business now and well into the future.”