Political Ads Boost Hearst-Argyle, Young Broadcasting

Feb 23, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Strong political advertising helped a pair of station groups post improved fourth-quarter and full-year results, the groups reported Wednesday.

Hearst-Argyle Television, which owns 25 network-affiliated television stations, reported a 17 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit to $39.6 million, on 16 percent increase in revenue to $221 million. For the year, the company posted a 31.5 percent surge in profit to $123.9 million and a 14 percent increase in revenue to $780 million.

Political advertising spending was responsible for most of the increases, with the company booking $43 million in political revenue in the quarter and a total of $87 million in political revenue for the year.

Political spending was also a factor in the results for Young Broadcasting, which reported narrowed losses for both the fourth quarter and the year.

In the quarter, Young reported red ink of $1.3 million, versus a loss of $13.2 million in the 2003 quarter, while revenue advanced 19 percent to $63.8 million. For the year, Young narrowed its loss to $44.3 million from year-earlier red ink of $49.1 million. Revenue for 2004 rose 11 percent to $223.9 million.

The company said it benefited from strong political revenues at its stations in Davenport, Iowa; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Lansing, Mich.; and Green Bay, Wis., which helped Young book $13.8 million in political-related advertising, compared with the year-earlier figure of $2.2 million.