The $34.5M in net revenue Fisher Communications brought in during Q3 2009 represented an 18% decline from the $42.3M brought in during the same period in 2008. Television losses were greatly mitigated by increases in retransmission income; and a radio revenue loss was accompanied by a loss of expense due to its decision to drop carriage of the Seattle Mariners professional baseball team.
President/CEO Colleen B. Brown said, “Our strategic focus on increasing market share, expanding content offerings, aggressively fighting for every advertising dollar and maintaining a disciplined approach to cost management will allow us to better serve our viewers and create long-term value for our shareholders and business partners.”
The television loss was attributed in part to the loss of $4.2M in political advertising revenue; however, the total of retrans fees collected increased 466%. Net advertising was down 25%. Broadcast cash flow came in at $3.6M, down from $5.6M in Q3 2008. Fisher said that effective 9/1/09, it signed a five-year affiliation renewal with the ABC Television Network for its stations in Seattle and Portland.
Radio revenue was down 49%, largely due to losses in revenue generated by Mariners baseball back in Q3 2008; however, getting rid of the expense of licensing the games mitigated that loss; radio was down only 21% if the Mariners are factored out. Broadcast cash flow was $1.2M compared to a loss of $237K the prior comparable period.
The company also suffered a $2.6M loss after taxes related to a fire at their Fisher Plaza multi-use facility.
Fisher is pinning its future on enhancing its broadcast assets with a strong interactive presence, and to that end has launched 44 hyperlocal neighborhood websites in the Seattle market, gaining another outlet for valuable KOMO-TV content and providing another venue for advertisers.
Brown said she had an opportunity recently to speak with Obama administration in Washington on the topic of spectrum, and asked him to divert the FCC’s eyes from television’s slice.