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ACME Q1 Loss Widens

TV broadcaster ACME Communications posted a wider first-quarter loss due to higher tax expenses and a 6% hike in station operating expenses, but it also grew revenue.

ACME incurred a net loss from continuing operations of $1.6 million, or 10 cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, more than red ink of $1.1 million (7 cents) a year earlier. Net revenue from continuing operations, which include a syndicated TV program, increased 13% to $8.2 million at the Santa Ana, Calif.-based company with six TV stations reaching 2.2% of U.S. TV households. Revenue at TV stations alone advanced 2%.

On a cash basis, TV-station operating expenses increased 6% due to higher program expenses.

“We are pleased to report a net revenue gain during a quarter where most broadcasters experienced year-over-year declines,” ACME chairman and CEO Jamie Kellner said in a statement

 “While the environment remains challenging and the advertising outlook is uncertain, our revenue growth has continued into the current quarter -- driven by prudent investments in programming and promotion in the face of a disappointing performance by our primary network, The CW,” he added. “At the same time, we have kept a tight lid on all other station operating costs and have continued to benefit from reduced corporate expenses. Despite the difficult M&A [mergers and acquisitions] market, we continue to pursue all options for monetizing our station assets in the best interest of our shareholders.”

The company issued guidance that it expects second-quarter net revenue from continuing TV stations to rise 3%-5% and cash-based station expenses to rise at the same percentage, although broadcasting cash flow should improve.

The company has five The CW affiliates, one MyNetworkTV affiliate and it produces syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz.