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LIN TV Corporation, (TVL)

Q3 2008 Earnings Call

October 30, 2008 9:30 a.m. ET


Vincent L. Sadusky – President and Chief Executive Officer

Scott M. Blumenthal – Executive Vice President Television

Richard Schmaeling - Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President


Marci Ryvicker – Wachovia Securities

Aaron Watts – Deutsche Bank

Avi Steiner – JP Morgan

Barry Lucas – Gabelli & Co.

Bishop Cheen – Wachovia Securities

Edward Atorino – The Benchmark Company

Michael McCaffrey – Shankman Capital

[Melissa Velvick] – Credit Suisse

Michael Meltz – JP Morgan

Kit Spring – Stifel Nicolaus & Company, Inc.

[Linda Carne] – Credit Suisse

Scott Duba – Lehman Brothers



Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. And welcome to Lin TV Corp's earnings call for the third quarter that ended September 30, 2008. Today's call is being recorded. Before we introduce today's speakers I will read a brief legal statement from the Company. This conference call may include statements that constitute forward-looking statements, particularly in the area described as business outlook, but also including any other statements of future business prospects or financial results including but not limited to the use of words like: believe, expect, estimate, project or other similar expressions.

Forward-looking statements inherently involve risks and uncertainties, including among other factors: general economic conditions, demand for advertising, competition for audience and programming, government regulations and new technologies that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements.

Factors that could contribute to such differences include the risks detailed in the company's annual report on 10K and other filings made with the securities and exchange commission, which are available on the Company's website, in the Investor Relations section or at which discussions are incorporated in this release by reference. Lin TV undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise unless otherwise required to by applicable law.

At this time I will turn the call over to Lin TV's president and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Vince Sadusky. Please go ahead, sir.

Vincent L. Sadusky

Thank you. Good morning and welcome to Lin TV's third quarter 2008 conference call. I'll start with an overview of our third quarter results and share with you some digital and interactive highlights. In addition I will discuss our recent efforts to strategically evolve Lin into a new media company. Scott Blumenthal, our Executive Vice President of Television, will update you on station ratings and operations, and finally, Richard Schmaeling, our Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer will provide third quarter financial information and close with our current 2008 business outlook.

I am pleased to introduce you to Rich, who joins us from Dow Jones, where he played an instrumental role in the transformation of Dow Jones into a more diversified multimedia company. After our quarterly financial update, we'll be happy to take your questions.

The third quarter overview, the strength of our local and new media business model helped Lin deliver strong results during the third quarter of 2008. despite economic factors affecting nearly all sectors of the market, we were pleased to grow net revenues by 5% in the third quarter of 2008, and grow operating income by 39% from Q3 last year.

Strong political advertising sales in several of our markets, including Albuquerque, Norfolk, Buffalo and Green Bay helped fuel net revenue growth. During the third quarter of 2008 politician revenues were 11.4 million compared to 1.3 million for the prior year period. As Scott will provide specific examples of how our market-leading stations maximized political revenues.

Our digital revenues, which include Internet advertising revenues and retransmission consent fees, continued to grow, increasing 88% to 8.1 million, compared to 4.3 million in the same period last year. Internet advertising and other interactive revenues increased 81% for the third quarter of 2008, compared to the same quarter last year.

I want to take a moment to share some great personnel news with you. Rob Richter has been promoted to Senior Vice President, New Media. Under the innovative leadership of Rob, we have a robust plan to build our new media business. We are fostering relationships with new media technology companies that are on the cutting edge of new product developments, and we are carefully evaluating every new business opportunity that complements Lin's core assets.

We believe our new media business will continue to fuel growth and opportunity for Lin. The Lin Interactive brand continues to be a driving force for our company's success. Total page views for the company's websites were 135 million in the third quarter of 2008, compared to 99 million in the third quarter of 2007, representing a 35% increase. Unique visitors for the company's websites were 16 million in the third quarter of 2008, compared to 12 million in the third quarter of 2007, representing a 38% increase.

We attribute this terrific growth to our talented interactive team and their ability to populate our websites with local relevant content across multiple platforms 24/7. During this contentious election year and especially in swing states like New Mexico, our websites have been a source for key election issues, debates, blogging, and voter registration information. In addition, we've built great partnerships to help expand the reach of our content. For instance, in the past four months, CNN has picked up 81 of our local news stories for publishing on their home page.

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