Fisher Swings to Profit

SEATTLE: Recovering TV station revenues buoyed Fisher Communications to a profit in the second quarter. Fisher posted net income of $328,000 on consolidated revenues of $40.8 million for the quarter ending June 30, 2010. Revenues were up 28 percent from a year ago, when Fisher reported a net loss of $2.1 million.

Revenues for the 20 TV stations were up 37 percent, on higher advertising and retransmission consent revenue. Retrans in 2Q09 excluded $902,000 attributable to that quarter, but recorded in 3Q09 on execution of contracts. Had the amount been recorded in 2Q09, TV revenues would have been up 31 percent; consolidated revenues up 24 percent.

Core ad revenues increased 20 percent to $23.3 million. Political was $1.5 million, up from $200,000. Auto advertising was up 85 percent; professional services, 22 percent; and retails, 26 percent.

Retransmission consent revenue for the quarter was $3.3 million, up $2.5 million from the $791,000 recorded in 2Q09--sans the $902,000.

Internet net revenue increased by $450,000, or 120 percent, to $826,000. It comprised 2.7 percent of 2Q10 TV revenue.

This quarter’s net income included an $842,000 pre-tax gain on the Sprint Nextel BAS relocation, and a $309,000 pre-tax gain on insurance reimbursements related to the July 2009 Fisher Plaza electrical fire. Net loss in 2Q09 included a $1.2 million pre-tax gain on extinguishment of debt.

“As we look ahead to the remainder of 2010, we are optimistic that the increased advertising spending will continue to drive growth opportunities for local broadcasters,” said Fisher chief Colleen B. Brown. “Over the past several years, we have strategically positioned Fisher to benefit from this recovery by improving our broadcast operations and developing a robust digital platform that enables us to meet the growing demand for local online and mobile content. We believe this diversified approach will allow us to create long-term value for our viewers, shareholders and business partners.”

Fisher finished the quarter with $37.4 million in cash and equivalents. Long-term debt was $104.7 million. Both compared to cash and equivalents of $44 million and long-term debt of $122 million as of Dec. 31, 2009. Shares of Fisher (NASDAQ: FSCI) opened at $17.31 and pushed near $18 in early trading after 2Q10 results were announced. Stock is up roughly 10 percent year-to-date.

-- Deborah D. McAdams

March 15, 2010
: “Fisher Stations Fall on Political”
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.