The decline is pegged to drops in local ad revenue of 14.4% and national that came in 30% lower than in last year’s first quarter.
Tuesday evening Barrington Broadcasting Group announced its financial results for the three months ended March 31. Gross revenues for the quarter decreased 16.9% to $26 million from $31.3 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2008.
The company said the decrease was primarily due to decreases in local revenues which fell $2.8 million, or 14.4%, to $16.5 million; national revenues that dropped $2.5 million, or 30%, to $5.8 million; and political revenues that decreased $1.5 million to $200,000. Other revenues increased $1.5 million, or 71%, to $3.6 million for the quarter.
Net revenues (gross revenues less agency commissions and other direct costs) for the quarter decreased 16% to $22.4 million from $26.7 million for the year-ago quarter.
Operating expenses, not including depreciation and amortization, decreased 6.4%, or $1.4 million, to $20 million from $21.4 million for first-quarter 2008 primarily as a result of workforce reductions that occurred in 2008. The reductions were partially offset by increased severance costs of $0.4 million during the quarter due to further workforce reductions.
Broadcast cash flow for the quarter ended decreased 38% to $4.4 million from $7 million last year.
Results for the three months include results of WGTU Traverse City, Mich., and WGTQ Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., stations that Barrington programs and to which it provides support services since April 1, 2008, the date Tucker Broadcasting of Traverse City, Inc. completed the acquisition of these stations.
K. James Yager, Barrington chief executive officer, said: “In the first quarter, Barrington continued to reduce its operating expenses through increased operating efficiencies. In addition, we saw an increase in interactive revenues and revenues from retransmission consent agreements, and we began to see positive results of our increased sales presence in our markets. However, these positive trends were offset by continued weakness in local and national advertising.”