LIN Reports Q2 Profits

Jul 29, 2004  •  Post A Comment

LIN TV Corp. on Thursday said it swung to a profit in the second quarter as the company outlined plans to open up new revenue streams to help counterbalance the absence of political advertising spending in odd-numbered years, including a joint venture with MTV Networks to create programming aimed at the 12 to 24 demographic in Puerto Rico.

The Providence, R.I.-based company, which owns 23 television stations, reported a second-quarter profit of $14.6 million, or 29 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $11.2 million, of 23 cents a share. Included in the 2004 numbers is a $1.5 million charge associated with the early retirement of debt, while 2003’s loss reflects a similar charge totaling $23.6 million.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $96.3 million as the company saw most of its key advertising categories post revenue gains and recorded hefty political advertising spending.

Meanwhile, company executives provided some details on a number of plans designed to generate new revenue streams at a time when creating duopolies is difficult and to make up the ground lost during odd-numbered years, when station groups see their advertising revenue plummet due to the absence of political spending.

Chief among them is the MTV partnership, in which the cable network will program 12 hours a day of programming on LIN’s duopoly station WJPX-TV in Puerto Rico. While LIN officials wouldn’t provide financial details of the pact, they did say that LIN and MTV will jointly provide resources for the initiative.

Plans call for MTV to look at music sales on the island and program mainly Spanish-language content based on those sales. MTV’s programming will augment the horseracing, local and paid content currently running on the channel.

Executives are also bullish about improved performance at the company’s CBS affiliate in Providence, WPRI-TV, which CEO Gary Chapman said is posting revenue and audience ratings gains.

Mr. Chapman was equally buoyant about the prospects of its Dayton, Ohio, station, WDTN-TV, which at the end of August is switching its network affiliation to NBC from ABC. He expect that station’s cash flow to grow by $3 million to $5 million in the next few years.