Fisher Communications doesn’t provide specific forward guidance to Wall Street, but CEO Colleen Fisher told analysts that things are looking up for its television stations.
“In the late fourth quarter we saw several encouraging signs that make us believe that the worst of the recession is behind us and that the industry is beginning to see recovery. For example, in fourth quarter Fisheer’s non-political advertising television revenue increased 4%. As you’ve seen in the industry, advertising has improved in the first two months of the current quarter. It appears the Pacific Northwest, however, is a little slower coming out of the worst of it, but what we are seeing now is encouraging,” the CEO said.
So, while Fisher’s TV revenues were down 22% for all of 2009 to $97.2 million, a big part of that was the lack of political and that was particularly felt in Q4. Excluding political, core advertising was down 17% for the yeafr to $77.9 million and for Q4 actually increased 4% to $23 million.
“In an extremely challenging operating environment, we grew our ratings, continued to take advertising share, delivered new offerings to our viewers and business partners and successfully launched our broadcast-to-broadband initiative through the neighborhoods, all the while holding the line on our cost structure. And as I look ahead, I’m confident that our attention to these things – at least the things we can control during this challenging environment – will create long term value for consumers, for our business partners and for our shareholders alike. 2010 marks Fisher’s 100th year of operation and throughout the company’s history our hallmarks have been a commitment to the regions we serve, a strong brand awareness and innovation,” Brown said.
That neighborhood broadband initiative involves localized websites that offer advertising opportunities to businesses too small to advertise on television or radio to the entire market. The CEO said that is bringing in new advertisers, although total Internet ad revenues were down in 2009, but flat for Q4.