Allbritton reports an up year


The fiscal year for Allbritton Communications ended September 30, 2010 – and it was a good year. While the TV group owner is privately owned, it has public bonds and reports quarterly results to the SEC.

Revenues for the past fiscal year were up 10.7% to $201.2 million. Local/national ad revenues gained 14%, with automotive up a whopping 41% after dropping the previous year.

Because of its fiscal calendar and geographic location – with its largest station, WJLA-TV (ABC) and cable NewsChannel 8 in the Washington, DC market – Allbritton enjoyed strong political revenues in each of the past two years. The most recent fiscal year included the final days of the November 2009 Virginia gubernatorial election and the run-up to the November 2010 mid-term election, while the previous fiscal year included the final days of the 2008 presidential election and the run-up to the election of the Virginia governor. So, political advertising in the most recent fiscal year was $10.4 million, up from $10.1 million the previous year.

Subscriber fees were up 19.8%, due to new retransmission consent agreements for Allbritton stations in various markets.

While revenues were up, costs were down. Total operating expenses declined 20.6% to $124.2 million. Television operating expenses were down 2.3% to $109.1 million.

In addition to WJLA/NewsChannel 8, Allbritton owns ABC affiliates in five other markets: WCFT-TV Tuscaloosa, WJSU-TV Anniston and WBMA-LP Birmingham all in the Birmingham, AL market; WHTM-TV Harrisburg, PA; KATV-TV Little Rock, AR; KTUL-TV Tulsa, OK; and WSET-TV Lynchburg, VA.

During the past fiscal year Allbritton Communications transferred the assets of WCIV-TV Charleston, SC and Politico to Perpetual Corporation, which owns Allbritton Communications and is controlled by members of the Allbritton family.