There’s a catch, though. The fiscal year for Allbritton Communications ended September 30, 2008, before some of the worst of the advertising decline. Also, nice gains in non-television revenues helped offset a drop in spot revenues to bring total revenues in just 0.9% below the previous year. Allbritton, with 1,094 employees at its seven TV stations and other operations, is privately owned, but has public bonds.
Net operating revenues for fiscal 2008 were $224.1 million, down 0.9% from the previous year. Operating income was $58.2 million, down 20.1%.
Local and national spot revenues were down 3.2% for the year to $188.4 million, with the company reporting a decrease in demand for advertising in all of its markets for the final three quarters of its fiscal year (January-September), particularly in its Washington, DC market. The company noted that auto advertising declined 14%
Political advertising was off 28.8% to $7 million, with the lack of high-profile state elections from the previous year cited, although that was partially offset by spending on the presidential primaries and run-up to the general election.
In addition to its broadcast TV stations, Allbritton operates a 24/7 local news channel on cable in the DC market, so it has subscriber fees to tally. Those were up 14.8% to $11.9 million.
The big boost, though, was on the “other” line, where revenues gained 77.7% to $10.9 million.. That was due to increased Internet ad revenues across the station group, as well as Internet ad revenues from politico.com, which Allbritton launched in January 2007.