ION Media Networks Calls for Cash-Flow Plummet in 2008

ION Media Networks reported broadcast cash flow of $98.3 million in 2007, a 65% bump over 2006, thanks to “corporate and operational cost streamlining and restructuring actions.”

Free cash flow after capital expenditures and interest expenses was negative $4.2 million, up from 2006’s negative $26.1 million.

“With our recapitalization process completed, we have turned our attention to building a sustainable business,” ION chairman and CEO Brandon Burgess said. “2008 will require greater investment to grow our network through higher programming spending, consumer marketing and digital capital expenditures.”

ION’s 2008 budget calls for dramatically reduced broadcast cash flow of $10.4 million (versus $98.3 million in 2007) and negative free cash flow of $94.8 million (versus negative $4.2 million in 2007). The 2008 budget projects a $27.3 million increase in program spending and a $19.5 million increase in capital expenditures.

ION made something of a programming splash of late by adding Baywatch, The Drew Carey Show and some original Western films to its lineup of vintage programming.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.