Hearst-Argyle TV Earnings Dip

Hearst-Argyle Television Inc. this week reported that its total revenue of $755.7 million for FY2007 was down about 4 percent from 2006, reflecting a $56.0 million decrease in net political advertising to $32.1 million, offset by a $15.6 million (3 percent) increase in net nonpolitical ad sales.

Fourth quarter 2007 earnings of 35 cents per diluted share were down from 46 cents in the fourth quarter of 2006, the company reported. For the full year, earnings were 69 cents per diluted share, down from $1.06 in 2006 and $1.08 in 2005.

Digital media revenue rose 35 percent to $20.9 million, and retransmission consent revenue rose 21 percent to $21.6 million.

“2007 was certainly a challenging year,” President and CEO David Barrett said in a statement. “It is hard to recall a period when so many attention-grabbing factors came into play and directly impacted our business—from the housing and automotive slumps, to credit and capital market volatility at the macro level, to network ratings challenges, a writers strike, and continuing technology-driven media consumption behaviors that impact our industry. Still, our stations competed very effectively for audience share, revenues and profitability in their respective markets, while at the same time looking forward to capturing new opportunities that leverage our local brands, loyal audiences, and strong advertiser relationships.”

The company boasts 16 digital multicast weather channels (among 26 TV stations it owns and three it operated for Hearst Corp.), 30 YouTube channels drawing more than 20 million video views in 2007; and 12 mobile-enabled Web sites. An alliance with CNN.com, helped to grow 2007 traffic to Hearst-Argyle Web sites to nearly 15 million average monthly unique visitors and a total of more than 1.7 billion pageviews, Barrett said.