Web Income Hops for Gray Television

Gray Television lost $24.8 million (52 cents per share) in 2007, down from an $8.1 million (17 cents per share) gain in 2006.

The company reported a drop in revenue in 2007 of $27.4 million (8 percent) to $307.3 million, reflecting a $35 million (82 percent) drop in political advertising as local advertising increased $6.7 million (3 percent) to more than $200 million. National advertising dipped 2 percent to $77.4 million.

Internet ad revenue jumped 25 percent to $1.9 million as total page views shot up 68 percent to 424 million.

“We have continued to expand our internet initiatives in each of our markets,” the company said in a statement. “We attribute the increase in our Web traffic to increased posting of local content and to increased public awareness of our sites as the result of our on-air promotion of our sites.”

Retransmission consent revenues hopped 56 percent to $2.4 million.

Expenses nudged up $6 million (3 percent) to nearly $200 million. Operation of digital second channels caused $3.1 million of the overall increase expenses. Gray had 40 digital second channels as of Dec. 31.

For the first quarter of 2008, Gray anticipates results comparable to 2007. National nonpolitical advertising revenue is currently anticipated to be down 3 to 5 percent compared to first quarter of 2007. Internet revenue for the quarter is anticipated to increase about 20 percent over the first quarter of 2007.

Gray operates 36 television stations (all big-four affiliates) in 30 markets. Gray’s 40 digital second channels including one ABC, five Fox, eight CW and 16 MyNetworkTV affiliates plus eight local news/weather channels and two independent channels.