Mixed Bag of Results in Quarter

May 2, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Four companies with interests in television stations reported mixed quarterly results last week. Some companies were hurt by a lack of political advertising, while others relied on nontelevision-related businesses to power overall financials.

LIN TV, which owns 25 stations, swung to a first-quarter loss of $10.3 million versus a year-earlier profit of $1.4 million, due to lower revenues in the period as well as a $12.3 million charge related to paying down debt. Revenue in the period fell 2 percent to $78.4 million.

Meredith Corp. reported that its station group posted a 14 percent rise in operating profit to $16.2 million for the three months ended March 31, while revenue rose 1 percent to $69.8 million, thanks to the acquisition of two television stations last year, in Kansas City, Mo., and Chattanooga, Tenn. In addition, several of the company’s TV stations reported ratings improvements for their news programs. Those factors offset a drop in political advertising and the absence of the Super Bowl.

The stations’ overall results helped the Des Moines, Iowa-based company report a 13 percent rise in net income to $35.2 million for the fiscal third quarter, compared with a year-earlier figure of $31.2 million. Revenue for the company rose 2 percent to $305.5 million.

McGraw-Hill Cos. said its four ABC-affiliated television stations reported a 2 percent decline in revenue in the first quarter as a sharp slowdown in political advertising and significant cutbacks in national advertising more than offset gains in local advertising sales.

The weakness at the stations group did not offset gains in McGraw-Hill’s other businesses, which include credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s as well as business magazine BusinessWeek. Overall, the company reported a 4 percent gain in profit to $78.7 million, compared with a year-earlier figure of $75.7 million. Revenue jumped 12 percent to slightly more than $1 billion, versus $919.9 million a year ago.

Fisher Communications, a Seattle-based owner of 10 television stations in the Northwest, last Thursday reported a narrowed first-quarter loss of $5.1 million, compared with red ink of $9.8 million a year ago. Revenue rose slightly to $31 million from $30.9 million last year. Much of the revenue growth came from a higher occupancy rate at the company’s office complex in Seattle, which helped offset a $700,000 decline in broadcasting revenue at both its 27 radio stations and 10 TV stations.