Fisher Reports Smaller Q4 Profit
Fisher Communications, the Seattle-based owner of nine network-affiliated television stations and 27 radio stations, reported a fourth-quarter profit of $4.5 million, versus a year-earlier profit of $19.8 million that was largely attributed to a series of asset sales in the 2003 quarter. Revenue rose 23 percent to $42.3 million, the company reported last week. For the year, Fisher recorded a loss of nearly $12 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of $8.2 million. The 2004 loss was attributed to write-downs related to the 2003 asset sales. Revenue rose 11 percent to $153.9 million. The company said its broadcast properties benefited from robust political and issue advertising in the latter part of the year, which bolstered strong local advertising activity and offset weakness in national advertising.
BellSouth Delivers DirecTV Subs
Telephone company BellSouth said last week it has signed 200,000 customers to DirecTV Group’s satellite service since the two companies first struck a bundling partnership last August. In the 2004 fourth quarter alone, BellSouth said it added more than 109,000 subscribers to DirecTV. BellSouth’s alliance with DirecTV is one of several between satellite operators and wire-line telephone companies, as the two camps join forces in a bid to blunt the cable industry’s push in telephony and high-speed data. The phone companies, seeing their core telephone business contract, have sought to join forces with satellite operators as a way to match the voice, data and video bundle presently offered by most cable companies. At the same time, BellSouth, SBC Communications and Verizon Communications have announced plans to spend billions building fiber-optic networks designed to deliver video content directly into homes over phone lines.