A soft national ad market offsets a 9% increase in developing media revenue and an 8% increase in retransmission revenue.
Fisher Communications Inc. today reported consolidated revenue of $33.9 million in the first quarter ended March 31, down 10% from the first quarter of 2011. Excluding Fisher Plaza revenues from the first quarter of 2011, Fisher’s consolidated revenue was essentially flat compared to the first quarter of 2011.
A 9% increase in developing media revenue and an 8% increase in retransmission revenue helped TV net revenue performance.
Broadcast revenue declined primarily due to lower national advertising spending in certain categories, including pharmaceutical, financial services and tourism, as well as the non-renewal of a long running radio joint sales agreement. This was offset by increases in retail and automotive categories. While political revenue was higher than the prior year, the company did not receive meaningful dollars in the first quarter as is typical in Fisher markets during even-numbered years.
The company reported a net loss of $1.9 million, or $0.21 per share, in the first quarter, compared to a net loss of $1.7 million, or $0.20 per share, in the first quarter of 2011.
Broadcast cash flow increased 25% to $6.2 million, which the company said reflects Fisher’s continued focus on expense management.
Direct operating, selling, general and administrative and programming expenses for the first quarter of 2012 decreased 5%, or $1.7 million, from the first quarter of 2011, primarily due to savings related to the non-renewal of a radio joint sales agreement, a reduction in bad debt expense and program amortization expenses.
Last year’s first quarter also included expenses related to the company’s 2011 proxy contest and savings related to the company’s revised vacation policy.
Commenting on the company’s financial performance, Fisher President-CEO Colleen B. Brown said: “Through the strength of our broadcast stations and innovative digital platforms, Fisher is able to expand its demographic reach and deliver its valuable news, information and content to multiple screens. We believe Fisher remains well positioned for strong station performance and audience share growth. These are the fundamentals that differentiate Fisher from its competitors and will continue to make the company a leader in redefining the future of local media.
“Our first quarter results reflect a soft national marketplace. Despite this, our stations continued to outperform the market in both audience share and revenue growth during the quarter, which are especially important as political spending begins its expected acceleration as we get closer to the fall elections. We believe the quality of our programming, the popularity of our award winning journalism teams and the growth of our developing media program provides Fisher a solid foundation to deliver long-term growth.”