Ion Cash Flow Plunges

The company also saved $9 million, for now, by increasing the principal on a $405 debt package in lieu of actually paying interest
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Cash flow at Ion Media Networks plunged 87 percent in the third quarter compared to last year (from $21.5 million to $2.8 million) as revenue sank and investments in programming and staffing increased.

In the first nine months of the year, cash flow was $19.8 million—a 72 percent drop from the same period in 2007.

"We are focused on our growth investment in programming, marketing and digital, and have hit each of our target milestones for building long term asset value: We relaunched Ion Television with broader content, launched two digital special interest channels, and delivered a near term industry technology standard for using our digital broadcast spectrum for mobile video," said Chairman and CEO Brandon Burgess. "And despite the downturn in the infomercial category, we will be on track to bring in the year on a cash profile consistent with that laid out in our March 17 preview."

The company also, in effect, borrowed some cash by paying interest on a $405 million debt package by increasing the principal, rather than paying cash. That saved $9 million in payments, for the time being. The company said it expects to continue that practice “until such time as market conditions improve.”