While retransmission consent revenue is up 466% and Internet ad money rose 3%, double-digit decreases in most key advertising categories resulted in a revenue drop from $27.3 million in 3Q ’08 to $25.1 million.
Fisher Communications Inc. today reported television revenue of $25.1 million, an 8% decrease from the $27.3 million generated in the comparable period of 2008. Fisher said the decrease reflected “continued weakness in advertising during the quarter due to the challenging macro-economic environment and a $4.2 million decline in political spending compared to the third quarter of 2008, partially offset by a 466% increase in retransmission revenue.”
Net advertising revenue decreased 25% in the third quarter compared to the same period last year.
- Key advertising categories continued to experience significant declines from the third quarter of 2008, including automotive (down 31%), retail (down 26%), and professional services (down 4%).
- Internet advertising revenue increased 3% to $489,000, compared to $474,000 in the third quarter of 2008.
- Television operating expenses decreased 3%, from $25.2 million in the third quarter of 2008, to $24.5 million in the third quarter of 2009, reflecting the benefit of cost-saving measures implemented in 2009, which included reductions in workforce across the company and the suspension of the company’s 401(k) match.
- Fisher and ABC agreed to terms for a five-year renewal of the network affiliation between the ABC Television Network and Fisher’s KOMO Seattle and KATU Portland, Ore., effective Sept. 1, 2009.
- The company signed an agreement for its KXPI Pocatello, Idaho, to become an affiliate of My Network TV.
- Fisher began aggressively implementing its “broadcast to broadband initiative,” launching a network of 44 hyperlocal neighborhood Web sites in the Seattle market.
Fisher and several of its cable distribution partners executed final retransmission consent agreements in the third quarter. The periods covered by these agreements began on Jan. 1, 2009. Accordingly, the company’s third quarter financial results include approximately $2 million of cable retransmission fees attributable to those contracts for the period from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2009. Excluding the $2 million of retransmission revenue attributable to the first half of 2009, total retransmission revenue increased $1.5 million, or 197%, from the third quarter of 2008.
Fisher President-CEO Colleen B. Brown said, “Despite the unprecedented challenges facing our advertising partners and the direct effect it is having on our near-term performance, we remain confident in our business. We expect that the proactive steps we are taking to improve our operational and financial performance will allow Fisher to emerge a stronger media company once the economic recovery takes hold. Our strategic focus on increasing market share, expanding content offerings, aggressively fighting for every advertising dollar and maintaining a disciplined approach to cost management will allow us to better serve our viewers and create long-term value for our shareholders and business partners.”