Even Hearst-Argyle Television’s record high $93 million in political advertising and a 24.4 percent increase in retransmission consent fees, couldn’t offset a 9 percent drop in fourth quarter revenue to $197.1 million. For the year, revenue declined 4.7 percent o $720.5 million.
In addition to the recession, the TV group, which reported its fourth-quarter and year-end earnings Wednesday (Feb. 25), attributed the revenue drop to decreased spending among several major ad categories including automotive, retail, telecommunications, movies, restaurants, health services and furniture.
“Unfortunately, depressed local economies in our largest markets and states such as California and Florida, and further significant declines in auto spending and other recession-sensitive categories, outweighed our political and retransmission gains. Digital revenues, which got off to a strong start earlier in the year, were also affected by recessionary conditions, and were flat to prior year due to fourth quarter weakness,” said
David Barrett, president and CEO of Hearst-Argyle.
Like other TV companies, Hearst-Argyle has been forced to trim costs and staff, eliminating 200 positions last year.