Fisher TV Revenues Fall 8 Percent

SEATTLE: Revenues fell 8 percent for the 21 TV stations owned by Fisher Communications for the quarter ending Sept. 30. The stations generated $25.1 million compared to $27.3 million generated in the comparable period of 2008. The decline was attributable to lower local, national, and political advertising at a majority of stations, Fisher said in its earnings release. The drop was partially offset by an increase in retransmission revenue of more than fourfold.

Fisher said it recorded $4.2 million in total retransmission consent revenue in its third quarter. Around $2 million of that was attributable to the first half of 2009 for contracts executed in the third quarter, covering periods beginningJan. 1, 2009.

Broadcast cash flow was $3.6 million compared to $5.6 million last year, down 37 percent, pegged to revenue declines. The stations posted $530,000 in net political revenue in 3Q09 compared to $4.8 million last year.

Consolidated revenues for Fisher’s TV, radio and real estate properties were $34.5 million compared to $42.3 million last year, down 18 percent. Net loss was $4 million or 46 cents a share, compared to a profit of $29.8 million or $3.41 per share last year. This year’s results included a $2.6 million loss related to a fire at Fisher Plaza, while last year’s included a $31.8 million after-tax gain on the company’s Safeco shares.

Adjusted net loss for the quarter was $1.4 million or 16 cent a share compared to a net loss of $2.1 million or 24 cents a share in the year-ago quarter.

Fisher (NASDAQ: FSCI) ended the quarter with $49.5 million in cash and equivalents and long-term debt of $122 million. Shares gained about 4 percent in today’s trading to reach around $20.40 in mid-afternoon.

More on Fisher:
August 6, 2009: “Fisher Falls on Ad Slump”
Fisher TV stations showed the effects of an off-election year, in addition to the industrywide slump in advertising.

June 10, 2009:“Fisher Stations 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 the20 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 Interactivity”
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.