The fiscal year for Allbritton Communications ended on September 31st, so the results for the company are a bit different than the two-year political advertising cycle of its peers. Net operating revenues for Fiscal 2011 were down 2.1% to $196,923.
“This decrease primarily reflects decreased demand for local, national and political advertising, partially offset by increased subscriber fees,” the company said in an SEC filing. Allbritton is privately owned, but has public bonds.
“Local and national advertising revenues decreased $5.7 million, or 3.5%, from Fiscal 2010. Local and national advertising revenue decreased as a result of significantly less demand for issue-oriented advertising surrounding the legislative process during the current year as well as a decrease in demand from larger, more nationally-focused advertisers. Notwithstanding a 5% decrease in automotive-related advertising due to the effect of the events in Japan on automotive inventory levels during the three months ended June 30, 2011, the automotive category increased 11% during Fiscal 2011, which partially offset the decreases discussed above,” Allbritton explained.
Political advertising revenues were $7.8 million during Fiscal 2011, down from $10.4 million during Fiscal 2010. “Substantially all of the political advertising revenue in Fiscal 2011 occurred during the first quarter of the year and consisted of spending related to the November 2010 interim elections. In Fiscal 2010, political advertising revenue consisted of spending related to the November 2009 Virginia Governor’s election and spending by candidates in heavily contested primary and runoff elections in several of our markets as well as spending leading up to the November 2010 interim elections,” the company said.
Subscriber fees increased 16.9% to $3.2 million. “This increase was due to the renewal of certain retransmission consent agreements during the year as well as increases in per subscriber rates in accordance with the underlying agreements and increases in the overall number of subscribers,” said Allbritton.
Operating income for the fiscal year declined 15.3% to $65.2 million.
Allbritton owns ABC affiliates in six markets. It’s largest operation is WJLA-TV Washington, DC and its regional cable 24/7 news operation, NewsChannel 8.