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Olympics boost Hearst

Revs rise 4% on higher ad sales

HOLLYWOOD — TV broadcaster Hearst-Argyle Television said Thursday that its first-quarter profit dropped 30% — a bit less than expected — while revenue rose 4% on higher ad sales during Olympics coverage on station group’s NBC affils.

New York-based company posted net income of $14.3 million for the latest quarter. Revenues totaled $154.9 million.

“Our results were helped by healthy Olympics revenues on our 10 NBC stations and by political advertising expenditures,” CEO David Barrett said.

The political revenue was mostly limited to Sacramento and Pittsburgh and Lancaster-Harrisburg, Penn.

“At this stage, we are surpassing our own earlier expectations for revenue growth, and we’re hopeful that coming political activity and a recovering economy will further stimulate demand on inventory and will buttress unit pricing,” Barrett said.

Hearst-Argyle owns 24 TV stations and manages three other TV properties and two radio stations. Eleven of its TV properties are affiliated with ABC and two with CBS. One of the managed stations is a WB affil and one an indie.

A subsid of majority owner Hearst Corp., broadcaster also is active in TV production and syndication through an NBC joint venture and has a dot-com partnership with Internet Broadcasting Systems. Hearst-Argyle shares closed up 16¢ at $27.20 Thursday.