Gray Television reported first quarter revenue of $61.4 million-a 14% drop from the same quarter last year. Broadcast groups have been routinely down 20-25% in first quarter revenue, and Gray said the company is well-positioned to weather the economic storm. "While the current national recession makes for a difficult operating environment, we believe our operating results validate our long-term strategy of focusing on leading local television stations in midsize to smaller markets," it said in a statement.
Broadcast expense was down 9% in the quarter.
Gray said the first quarter revenue number was attributable "primarily to increased retransmission revenue offset by decreased local, national and political advertising revenues. Retransmission revenue increased due to negotiating higher revenues as our retransmission contracts were renewed. Internet advertising revenues were generally consistent with the internet revenues for the first quarter of the prior year while website traffic continued to increase. Local and national advertising revenue decreased due to reduced spending by advertisers in the current economic recession."
Local advertising revenue was down 14% and national dropped 21%. Internet advertising revenue of $2.6 million decreased 2%.
Atlanta-based Gray operates 36 television stations serving 30 markets, including 17 CBS and 10 NBC affiliates.