Fisher CEO hails Q1 results


A day ahead of shareholder voting which will determine whether dissidents will take control of the Fisher Communications board of directors, the company reported that Q1 revenues were up 7.3% to $37.9 million. TV led the way, with radio down slightly and Fisher Plaza up.

“Fisher’s successful execution of its strategic plan has continued our business growth by improving ratings, growing revenue share and adding new advertising categories and local solutions. The strong revenue and EBITDA growth we delivered in the first quarter reflects our market leading positions and the power of our brands, which has allowed Fisher to take full advantage of the early advertising recovery,” said a statement from Fisher CEO Colleen Brown, pictured. Her quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts was set for late Tuesday, with the company’s annual shareholders meeting set for Wednesday.

“We also remain very pleased with the growth of our internet portfolio, which focuses on delivering highly localized content and information across a number of platforms, including mobile devices and social media tools. We are combining these multi-platform offerings with innovative advertising solutions to better position Fisher to capture a larger share of the total market advertising spend. Our ability to leverage the strength of our core broadcasting assets with technological innovation has put Fisher at the forefront of redefining our industry for the future,” said Brown.

Q1 TV revenue increased 9% to $29.1 million. Excluding political, the company said the gain was 12%. Core local and national spot advertising rose 9% to $22.8 million and retransmission consent revenues gained 25% to $3.3 million. Internet revenue associated with the TV division shot up 89% to $1.2 million. TV cash flow increased 47% to $4.7 million. Fisher owns 13 full-power and seven low-power TV stations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.

Radio revenues slipped 1% to $5.2 million. Radio cash flow was off 15% to $304,000. “Radio cash flow was negatively impacted as a result of a format change at KVI-AM and the wind-down of the KING FM Joint Sales Agreement which expires in second quarter 2011,” the company noted. Both stations are in Seattle, where Fisher owns a three-station cluster. It also owns five small-market stations in Great Falls Montana.

Fisher Plaza, which Fisher Communications has placed up for sale or a refinancing transaction, posted a 5% increase in revenues to $3.7 million in Q1. EBITDA rose 14% to $2.2 million.

RBR-TVBR observation: The improved results would appear to argue that the current board and management have Fisher Communications on the right track. Our previous analysis put the value of Fisher well above the $23.99 per share being offered by Huntingdon REIT and this quarterly report just raises the cash flow multiple calculation again.