Allbritton Registers Profit, Retrans Rev Threatened

Allbritton Communications, which owns the ABC affiliate and a local cable news channel in the Washington, D.C. area, saw a bump in auto advertising and swung to a profit for the first six months of the year. The company, which also runs five mid-market ABC stations, posted a $15.6 million profit, after a loss close to the same amount last year.

Revenues were up 8% to $101 million. About half of that comes from WJLA and NewsChannel 8 in D.C.

Auto advertising -- a category that accounted for about 16% of broadcast revenues for the first six months of 2010 -- saw actual dollars increase 21% over the period.

That comes after declines in the last three fiscal years -- culminating with a 41% year-over-year drop in fiscal 2009, which concluded at the end of last September.

Allbritton has received retrans consent dollars, but could be forced to hand over portions of that revenue to ABC starting in 2013. Its affiliate deal with the network for all six stations expires at the end of 2012.



The company is still receiving affiliate compensation from ABC, but it is dropping. For the first six months of 2010, it came in at $1.2 million.

In addition to Washington, the company operates stations in the Harrisburg, Pa. and Birmingham, Ala. markets -- DMAs 39 and 40, respectively -- plus Little Rock, Tulsa and Roanoke, Va.

Allbritton is privately owned, but its structure calls for it to report results with the S.E.C. Fourth-quarter results were filed in May and published again last week as part of a prospectus for a $455 million financial offering.

The company has received much attention recently for its Web site. But due to a restructuring, it no longer reports results for the popular political-news site, or its Charleston, S.C. ABC affiliate.

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