Silver King 3rd quarter fiscal down

Television group broadcaster Silver King Communications reported lackluster operating results for its fiscal third quarter ended May 31.

Total revenues at the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based broadcaster decreased 2.6% to $ 11.2 million from $ 11.5 million. But Silver King was able to narrow its losses by 60%. The company posted a third-quarter net loss of $ 1.7 million, or 19 cents per share, compared with a net loss in the comparable quarter last year of $ 4.2 million (48 cents).

Silver King — which owns and operates 12 independent full-power UHF stations serving eight of the 12 largest TV markets in the U.S., including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — said the revenue decrease resulted primarily from lower sales at the company’s video production unit, Telemation Inc.

Operating income

The company posted operating income (before depreciation and amortization) of $ 5 million, compared with $ 6.3 million in the same quarter last year.

Silver King pointed out that although it reported a $ 1.3 million or 20.4% decline in income, it was better able to meet its borrowing obligations: Its net interest coverage improved to 2.01 times interest charges from 1.24 times in the comparable quarter last year.

For the nine-month period, total revenues decreased 3.2% to $ 34.6 million from $ 35.7 million. And Silver King posted a net loss of $ 5.4 million (62 cents), compared with a net loss of $ 11.5 million ($ 1.31) last fiscal year.

For the first nine-month period, operating income declined 13.9% to $ 17.4 million from $ 20.2 million, while net interest coverage increased to 2.11 times from 1.32 times.

Silver King said the primary reason for the improvement in the reported net loss and net interest coverage ratios was a reduction in the amount of funds borrowed and a lower interest rate compared with last year.

Option retained

Liberty Media retains an option to buy the Silver King station group, which was spun off from Home Shopping Network.

That has led to speculation that Barry Diller (Liberty’s prime partner in home shopping channel QVC) will use the stations — which have an audience reach in excess of 27.5 million households — to lay the foundation to build the first interactive broadcast network (Daily Variety, June 22).