Report: Station Groups See 12% Revenue Growth in Q2

Fisher, Meredith lead the pack

The local broadcasting industry showed revenue growth of 12.1% in the second quarter, compared to the same quarter in 2009, reports the investment banking firm MC Alcamo & Co. Profitability margins rose from 34% in the same quarter last year, says Alcamo, to 39% in this year's second quarter.

Fisher Communications led the pack with 27.7% revenue growth in the quarter, followed by Meredith (23.4%), Scripps (22.4%), LIN (20.5%) and Gannett (20.3%).

Seven pure-play public broadcasters averaged 16.7% growth in revenue for the quarter, while the broadcast divisions of integrated media groups grew revenue a more modest 9%, reported Alcamo.

"A strong advertising recovery, coupled with industry-wide productivity advances, powered revenue and margin gains at virtually all firms," said President Michael Alcamo. "Despite a sluggish consumer recovery, corporate ad budgets are up sharply and are fueling industry growth. Industry-wide margin expansion reflected two factors. First, revenue was up nearly 17% on the strength of major ad categories. This was magnified by technical innovation and tight control over expense growth. The two dynamics led to + 34% EBITDA growth industry-wide, and margin expansion to 39%."

In terms of profitability margins, Alcamo said Fisher was again top of the heap among the pure-play broadcasters with 11% expansion. Among integrated media companies, Gannett showed a whopping 259% profitability growth, followed by McGraw-Hill's 229%.

Alcamo says the recovery should sustain itself through the year. "We expect continued revenue and profit growth in 2010," reported Alcamo. "First, fully digital transmission commenced in mid-June 2009, thus, lower levels of electricity costs will be incorporated into the expense base starting with the third quarter. Secondly, the full impact of political advertising will be felt in the latter two quarters of 2010."