Fisher TV Stations Account for Revenue Boost

SEATTLE, WASH.: Fisher’s 20 TV stations pulled in a majority of the company’s consolidated revenue increase for the third quarter. TV segment revenue rose by $6.9 million, or 27 percent, to $32 million for the quarter. Fisher’s consolidated radio, TV and real estate revenues totaled $42.2 million, up $7.7 million form last year.

“We are pleased with the financial results for the quarter, which represented Fisher’s third consecutive quarter of revenue growth,” said Fisher chief Colleen Brown. “Our performance reflects continued growth in core advertising and robust political spending in California, Washington and Oregon. Our stations continue to take higher shares of both ratings and revenue, and as we look ahead beyond elections and into 2011, we are cautiously optimistic that the core advertising rebound that began a year ago will continue.”

Fisher attributed the increase to political and core ad revenue growth. Core was up 17 percent to $21 million. Political increased by $4.1 million to $4.7 million. Automotive increased by 61 percent for the quarter.

Retransmission consent revenue was $3.6 million, down from $4.2 million a year ago when $1.8 million was attributable to the first quarter, but recorded in the third. Sans the $1.8 million, the year-over-year increase in total TV revenues would have been 37 percent.

Internet revenues, included in the TV segment, were up by 89 percent to $924,000, or around 3 percent of TV revenues.

Consolidated profit was $3.3 million compared to a $4 million loss a year ago. The $3.3 million included a $275,000 pre-tax gain on the Sprint-Nextel Broadcast Auxiliary Service equipment swap, and $2.9 million pre-tax on insurance payments related to a fire at Fisher Plaza.

Fisher finished the quarter with cash and equivalents of $40.2 million versus nearly $44 million Dec. 31, 2009. Long-term debt was $104.7 million versus $122 million. Shares of Fisher (NASDAQ: FSCI) rose briefly above $19 this morning before settling back at around $18.45.
-- Deborah D. McAdams