Hearst Argyle Television reported a 27% drop in broadcast cash flow, to $54.5 million, on a 13% drop in revenue, to $148.3 million. The company expects second-quarter revenue to be down 10% to 14%. Besides the soft economy, the first-quarter declines were attributed to a drop in political dollars and in Super Bowl dollars in 2001, when CBS had the game. The group has two CBS affiliates but had 11 ABC affiliates last year when that network had the big game. Dotcom advertising was also way off, the company said. Four markets were cited as particularly hard hit by the weak economy: Boston, Pittsburgh, Sacramento and Kansas City. The company will continue to cut costs where it can, said President and CEO David Barrett, noting that, over the past 15 months, it has pared staffing levels by 7.5%.
Univision reported a 24% drop in pretax earnings (EBITDA), to $47.8 million, for the first quarter, on a 7% revenue gain, to $194.9 million. The company attributed the drop in EBITDA to an $11.9 million charge related to program write-offs and severance packages for terminations. The company expects television revenues to climb 1% to 4% in the second quarter and 7% to 10% for the full year, but that assumes a "modestly improving economic climate in the second half of the year," the company said. Its online division will post a loss of at least $30 million for the full year.