Midsize TV station group Allbritton Communications delivered some difficult times in fiscal 2011 -- with TV advertising down versus a year ago and earnings off as well -- in large part due to lower political advertising.
Local and national spot advertising sank 3.5% -- or $5.7 million -- to $157.1, down from $162.8 million in fiscal 2010. The company's fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Looking at its results over two years provides a better picture: Local and national advertising revenues increased 14%, or $20 million from fiscal 2009.
Allbritton, which owns six ABC affiliates, the biggest in Washington D.C. and a regional news network, cited lower issue-oriented advertising as a big reason. Net operating revenues for fiscal 2011 were down 2.1% to $196.9 million. Net income fell 31% to $17.5 million from $25.2 million the year before.
The company noted that issue-oriented advertising significantly dropped. Political advertising revenues were $7.8 million during its fiscal year 2011, down from $10.4 million during fiscal 2010. But some of this was made up by an increase in automotive spending (which other TV groups have also seen), increasing 11%.
“This decrease primarily reflects decreased demand for local, national and political advertising, partially offset by increased subscriber fees,” the company said in an SEC filing.
Subscriber fees increased 16.9% or $3.2 million to $21.9 million during the year.