Clear Channel’s 3Q Down

Clear Channel Communications released its third quarter results October 24th, disclosing a 21 percent drop in earnings compared to the third quarter of 2004. The figure includes a 1 percent sales increase for Clear Channel Entertainment and an 11.3 percent revenue climb for CCC’s outdoor advertising arm.

According to the company, the 1 percent increase in the live entertainment division (to $983.5 million) was due mostly to the purchase of U.K. promotion company Mean Fiddler. The acquisition gave CCE a nearly $42 million net increase in revenue.

Mean Fiddler’s financial injection helped offset a decline in ticket and ancillary revenues, the company said. Also, Clear Channel’s live entertainment division saw a $14 million increase in expenses that include $8.4 million in legal fees and severance costs related to its reorganization.

Revenue for CCE increased $8.8 million for the third quarter compared to the same period last year.

Overall, Clear Channel Communications earned $205.5 million in the quarter ended September 30th, down from $261.2 million in the third quarter of 2004. Revenue was $2.68 billion, up about 1 percent from the same period last year.

CCC’s radio broadcasting division saw revenue decline for the third quarter – down 4.3 percent to $919.2 million – which the company attributes to a reduction in commercial minutes. CCC is trying to woo back radio listeners by decreasing the amount of advertising minutes.

The company’s success in outdoor advertising revenue (rising to $668 million) was partially attributed to its acquisition of a majority stake in a Chinese outdoor ad company.

Clear Channel Entertainment – now known as CCE Spinco – is expected to be a free-standing organization by the end of the year.