Gray Television (GTN) Q3 2011 Earnings Call November 04, 2011 11:00 am ET Executives James C. Ryan - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President Robert S. Prather - President, Chief Operating Officer, Director and Member of Executive Committee Hilton H. Howell - Vice Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Member of Executive Committee Analysts Barry L. Lucas - Gabelli & Company, Inc. Marci Ryvicker - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division Presentation Operator
For the quarter, our total revenue decreased by 10% to $76.5 million from $85.3 million this quarter last year. This decrease is entirely due to the expected drop in political advertising of $10.8 million in quarter-to-quarter comparisons.Significantly, of our 5 largest advertising categories: Automotive, restaurants, medical, communications and furniture and appliances, all increased this quarter. Automotive increased by 5%; restaurants increased by 3%; medical increased by 7% communications increased by 7% and furniture and appliances increased by 9%. Last quarter, our automobile-related category decreased by about 1% which at that time we attributed it to the effects of the Japanese tsunami. And as we expected, it has reversed itself this quarter. For the 9 months, total revenue decreased by 4% or $9 million to $222.5 million from $231.4 million year-to-date 2010. Once again, the main issue here is the political revenue declining, as I have mentioned before. But we also suffer in comparison from collecting no Olympic-related advertising this year. Whereas in 2010, we received approximately $2.8 million Olympic advertising revenue from our NBC-affiliated stations. Additionally, the Super Bowl was broadcast on FOX this year and our one primary FOX affiliate station and 4 FOX-affiliated secondary digital channels generated only $200,000 of revenue this year compared to 2010, when the Super Bowl was broadcast on CBS and our 17 CBS-affiliated primary stations generated close to $1 million of Super Bowl revenue. All of the issues that can account for our decreases in advertising were expected and planned for. We are very happy with the resiliency and vigor of our local TV properties and expect them to bring 2011 to be a very successful close. On a final note, this quarter, the company has continued to purchase in more shares of its outstanding preferred stock. We purchased in the shares in private transactions from internally generated funds. We consider these purchases to be part of our broader effort to deleverage the company. With that, I will bring my comments to a close and hand it over to Bob Prather for his thoughts. Bob?
Robert S. PratherThanks, Hilton. I want to welcome everybody. As Hilton mentioned, we feel good about the quarter. I think the TV business in general has been a better year than most people thought for most of the well-run broadcasters out there. Political has been stronger this year than we thought. Wisconsin union and recall we have a $3 million come in there. Ohio is getting some of the same thing now and we've got a strong Governor's race in West Virginia that we didn't anticipate. So we think there's going to be some, rose very well for next year on political especially. The main thing we're working on right now I mention every time we are fast getting all our stations up with local HD news and automation. I think we basically are -- at the end of the year have 3/4 of our stations up and running with local HD views. And we just got most of our small markets are left to finish up next year. But I think this is critical for our competition. I think we like to be the leader. We like to be the first in the markets to do go-local. We haven't been that in every case, but I think most of the cases we have. So it's something that we want to continue our leadership and continue to use our tradition of only strong number one stations in our markets. We also are very busy right now negotiating our retransfer cable operators. We've got 45% of our subs up this year. Most of the big operators we're negotiating with currently, except for Comcast and their not up this year. But we feel very good about the negotiations in early stages, but we think we're going to get some good increases and some well-deserved increases.
I think TV has long been undervalued by cable operators and I think they're now realizing the value of, especially TV stations with strong local news franchises like we have. So this is something we hope we'll have these negotiations concluded by the end of the year and going into next year with new round of retransmission revenues coming in.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com