Fisher Stations Fall on Political
SEATTLE: Revenues at the 20 TV stations owned by Fisher
Communications fell 23 percent to $29.1 million for the quarter ending Dec. 31,
2009. The decline was attributed to the cyclical shift in political spending,
down from $10.9 million in 4Q08 to $1.2 million in 4Q09. Core advertising,
meanwhile, was up 4 percent to $23 million; retrans increased 160 percent to
$2.4 million. Automotive ad revenues increased 15 percent, while retail fell 13
percent and restaurants fell 14 percent. Internet revenues were flat at $507,000.
Broadcast cash flow fell $9.3 million to $5.1 million; margin was 17.7 percent
compared to 38.8 percent the year earlier.
For the full year of 2009, TV revenues fell 22 percent to $97.2 million.
Political was just $1.9 million compared to $17.4 million. Core revenues were
also off for the full year, down 17 percent to $77.9 million. Automotive fell
40 percent; retail was down 23 percent and professional services fell 13
percent. Internet revenues fell 12 percent to $1.7 million. Broadcast cash flow
declined $25.5 million to $10.1 million; margin was 10.4 percent compared to
28.7 percent in 2008.
“While our 2009 financial results were severely impacted by the worst economy
since World War II and extremely cautious advertising spending, I am very pleased
with our stations’ competitive ratings performance and our response to these
economic challenges,” said Fisher President and Chief Executive Officer Colleen
B. Brown. “In 2009, we aggressively managed our expenses while increasing total
revenue share in our radio and TV markets; we expanded newsroom multiplatform
synergies between our TV, radio and online businesses; and we launched new
digital distribution platforms which allow us to better serve our
"As we look ahead, we are encouraged by some of the trends we witnessed in
the fourth quarter, including an improvement in our core, non-political
television advertising. Fisher’s automotive ad spending grew in the quarter for
the first time since the recession began, and we are hopeful that this pace
will gradually increase throughout the year."
Consolidated 4Q09 revenues for Fisher’s TV, radio and real estate properties
were down 19 percent to $38.6 million compared to 4Q08. Net income was $1.1
million, including a pre-tax gain of $2.6 million on the Sprint Nextel BAS
relocation, and $1.3 million on insurance reimbursement related to a fire at
Fisher Plaza. Fisher posted a net loss in 4Q08 of
$47.7 million on an impairment charge of
For the full fiscal year, Fisher’s consolidated revenues were $133.7 million, a 23 percent decrease
from 2008. Net loss was $9.3 million, compared to net income of $44.7 million
in 2008. The 2009 net loss included the $2.6 million Sprint-Nextel item, a $3
million pre-tax gain on debt extinguishment, and $2.7 million in Fisher Plaza
electrical fire expenses, net of reimbursements. The 2008 net income included a
$152.6 million pre-tax gain on the sale of Safeco stock, a $78.2 million pre-tax
impairment charge, and a $5 million pre-tax charge related to Fisher’s change
in national representation firms.
Fisher (NASDAQ: FSCI) ended 2009 with cash and equivalents of $43.9 million
versus $31.8 million the year earlier. Long-term debt was $122 million versus
$150 million. Shares of Fisher were down 9 percent year-to-date at $14.73 in
Monday morning trading.
More on Fisher:
February 2, 2010: “Fisher Invests $1.5 Million in Hyperlocal Partner”
Communications has invested $1.5 million in the company that helped launch its
hyperlocal initiative, DataSphere Technologies of Bellevue, Wash
November 5, 2009
: “Fisher TV Revenues Fall
decline was attributable to lower local, national, and political advertising at
a majority of stations.
August 6, 2009
“Fisher Falls on Ad
Fisher TV stations showed the effects of an off-election year, in addition
to the industrywide slump in advertising.
June 10, 2009:
Restored to Dish Network”
Fisher Communications are back on the Dish Network line-up, the two
companies said this week.
April 29, 2009
“Fisher Falls on
Politics and Cars”
Retransmission helped the
20 Fisher Communications TV stations during the first quarter
of 2009, but it couldn’t make up for the implosion of the automobile sector.
April 21, 2009
“Fisher Signs Up for
Fisher Communications has signed a station group agreement with
Backchannelmedia to deploy its opt-in Clickable TV technology.
April 10, 2009
“Firms Advise Fisher
Shareholders to Block Gamco Gambit”
Fisher Communication said today its advisers have recommended a “no” vote
on a proposal from an institutional investor wanting to limit Fisher’s ability
to buy assets.