Tough quarter for ACME Communications


ACME Communications has been actively trying to sell its television stations and completed the sale of three back in May. But that still left ACME with three stations and its “Daily Buzz” syndicated morning show – and they had a disappointing Q3.

“Unfortunately, adverse market conditions in the third quarter resulted in decreased advertising demand at our stations and at the Daily Buzz. We continue to be focused on our exit strategy of liquidating our remaining assets while maximizing shareholder value in the process,” said ACME President and CEO Doug Gealy.

Net revenues from continuing operations decreased 8% in Q3 to $3.5 million. Revenues for the three stations fell 9% to $2.7 million and revenues also declined for the Daily Buzz (down $71K to $756K). Total operating costs decreased 18% to $3.9 million, primarily on lower depreciation and amortization expense and last year’s Q3 loss on a tower sale. Station cash-based operating expenses increased 4% to $2.1 million, with ACME citing higher ratings service costs as the main reason.

ACME reported negative broadcast cash flow (BCF) of $20,000, compared to positive BCF of $375,000 a year earlier. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations was negative $327,000 compared to EBITDA of negative $119,000 for Q3 of 2010. The net loss for Q3 of 2011 was $432,000, compared to a $390,000 net loss a year earlier.

Still in the ACME station portfolio are KWBQ-TV (CW) and KASY-TV (MyNet) Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM and WBUW-TV (CW) Madison, WI.

RBR-TVBR observation: With station trading activity finally picking up, ACME might well be able to finish its sell-off in 2012. Still, that CW/MyNet duop in New Mexico is going to be a challenge to market. They are in a shared services agreement with LIN Media, but LIN can’t buy them because it already has a CBS/Fox duop of its own.