LIN TV reported net revenue of $74.5 million for the first quarter, a 20% drop from the $93.1 million bagged in the same quarter last year. Digital revenues were up 82% for the quarter, to $8.9 million, while retransmission consent fees grew 114%.
But it wasn't nearly enough to offset the decrease in advertising. Core local and national advertising, which excludes political, was down 24% in the first quarter to $72.3 million.
"In a recessionary environment impacting every segment of the economy, we delivered first quarter business results consistent with our guidance," said President/CEO Vincent L. Sadusky. "We are making important progress on all fronts of our cost and debt reduction programs, while still supporting initiatives to strengthen our local brands, improve the newsgathering process and maximize broadcast efficiency."
Sadusky said the company is tirelessly exploring new sources of revenue. "We continue to advance our localized digital strategy, investing in initiatives and partnerships that will generate new revenue opportunities," he said. "The focus remains on significantly changing the company's historic TV business model in order to operate a very healthy and cost-efficient multimedia business now and well into the future."
LIN said things don't look much brighter for the second quarter. "Based on current sales order pacings, which reflect the challenging economic environment, the market decline for both local and national advertising spending and expected reduced political advertising this year, the company expects that second quarter 2009 net revenues will decrease in the range of 18.9% to 23.7% (or $19.6 million to $24.6 million), compared to net revenues of $103.7 million for the second quarter of 2008," the company said in a statement.
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