Local the driver at Barrington


Like most television companies, Barrington Broadcasting Group got a Q3 boost from political advertising, so total revenues rose 13.3%. But in its quarterly conference call, the company proudly pointed to another statistic: 6.2% growth in same station local direct business. That came even though core agency and national business was down.

Gross revenues for Q3 gained 13.3% to $35.9 million, with local up 1%, national down 6.3% and political shooting up to $4 million from only $200,000 a year earlier. Excluding stations acquired in the past year, the gain was 10.8%. Net revenues (the number reported by most broadcasting companies, after deducting agency commissions and other direct costs) rose 13% to $30.6 million, a 10.5% gain excluding the newbies.

Broadcast cash flow increased 45.2% to $11.4 million. Even without the new stations that was a 42.9% gain.

CEO Jim Yager reiterated that the top objectives at Barrington are to grow local direct ad sales and monetize Internet initiatives. COO Chris Cornelius reported that for Q3 Barrington’s local direct revenues were up 6.2% to $5.6 million, even as local/regional agency business decreased 1.6% to $14.8 million and national fell 6.3% to $8.7 million. All that excludes the $3.8 million jump in political to $4 million.

NBC and Fox got a lot of publicity a few days ago for announcing news video pooling in Philadelphia, with expansion planned to other markets. As it turns out, Barrington has already been testing the same concept in one of its markets for a couple of months and has been in talks with other stations in several markets.