Lin Makes Gains

Lin TV earned $0.9 million in the first quarter of 2008 from continuing operations, an improvement from losing $1.6 million in the first quarter of 2007.

Revenues bumped up 1 percent to $93.1 million, compared to $91.8 million for the same period in 2007, despite a 3 percent drop in local and national nonpolitical advertising.

The increase was primarily due to higher political advertising and the near-doubling of digital revenues, including retransmission fees, to $4.9 million. The company also paid less interest as it paid off $22 million in debt.

“We attribute this growth to the successful execution of our digital strategy and new business development efforts, as well as political revenues generated by our leading news stations,” President and CEO Vincent L. Sadusky said in a statement. “Looking ahead, we continue to focus on the fundamentals of our business, including expense management and further maximizing our digital opportunities during a difficult economic environment.”

Retransmission consent fees grew 119 percent over the first quarter of 2007 as Lin reached new retransmission consent agreements for both its analog and HDTV channels with five companies, including Cable One, Cequel III Programming (Suddenlink Communications) and Dish Network. In March, Lin turned up the heat on cable operators, launching a partnership with Dish that offers incentives for consumers to switch to Dish if Lin stations are removed from a local cable system in any of its 17 markets.

Internet advertising and other interactive revenues increased 71 percent over the year-ago period for the first quarter of 2008 compared to the same quarter last year. Total page views for the Company’s Web sites were 163.2 million in the first quarter of 2008, a 39 percent jump over 2007. Time spent on the company’s Web sites doubled to an average of nearly 10 minutes per visit, with more than 10 million video impressions in the quarter.

Lin attributed the growth to new services including continuous breaking news and rich-media content. The company launched political Web sites in each of its 17 markets ahead of Super Tuesday (Feb. 5).

Lin said it expects that second quarter net revenues to increase in the range of 1 percent to 3 percent (or $1.4 million to $3.4 million), compared to reported net revenues of $101.8 million for the second quarter of 2007. All of this expected increase is attributable to projected political and digital revenue growth, the company said.