Acme Station Revenue Drops 5%

"Accelerating weak national economy" drags down station biz
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Acme Communications reported a 5% decline in net revenue at its six stations in the fourth quarter, compared to the same quarter a year before. Net revenue at syndicated program The Daily Buzz dropped 9%. Net revenue from continuing operations decreased 6% in the quarter to $7.9 million, driven by "an accelerating weak national economy and the resulting adverse impact on advertising demand."

Operating expenses at the Acme stations were adversely impacted by a $24.5 million non-cash charge related to the impairment to its broadcast licenses and goodwill.

"As an industry, we're obviously in uncharted water with significant declines in advertiser spending due to the severe economic recession and little visibility as to when that demand might return to previous levels," said Acme Chairman/CEO Jamie Kellner. "In the meantime, we continue to work hard to uncover new efficiencies and have implemented as many reductions in our variable costs as we believe prudently possible."

Full year revenue at the Acme stations was essentially flat at $30.1 million.

Kellner said the news wasn't all bad. "Our stations, as a group, increased their viewing share in our key demographics in the November 2008 sweeps period and we achieved record political dollars in the fourth quarter and increased our market share of non-political advertising revenue," he said. "Nonetheless, we expect that 2009 will prove to be a very difficult year for us and the entire broadcast industry."

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