Up quarter for Allbritton Communications


Despite the fall-off in political advertising, fiscal Q1 (October-December) brought an increase in revenues to Allbritton Communications. The privately owned TV group has public bonds and thus reports quarterly to the SEC.

Net operating revenues rose 3% to $55.3 million. “This increase primarily reflects increased demand for local and national advertising as well as increased subscriber fees, partially offset by decreased political advertising revenues,” the company said.

Local and national advertising revenues 14.1% for the quarter to $45.4 million  “as a result of strengthening advertising demand due to the improving economic environment as well as due to an active quarter for issue-orientated advertising surrounding the legislative process.” Political fell sharply, although the company was helped by the hot Virginia gubernatorial election on its flagship WJLA-TV (ABC) Washington, DC.

Allbritton also had some insight to share on the auto sector: “The automotive category, which decreased significantly during the previous fiscal year, was flat during the three months ended December 31, 2009 as compared to the same period in the prior fiscal year.”

Subscriber fees increased 40.9% to $4.4 million, including new retransmission consent agreements.

Meanwhile, total operating expenses declined 11.7% to $30.4 million.

Operating income for the quarter rose 29.1% to $24.9 million.