SOURCE: Fisher Communications, Inc.

Fisher Communications, Inc.

August 17, 2009 18:09 ET

Fisher Communications Launches 43 Hyperlocal Seattle Neighborhood Web Sites to Serve Local Communities and Advertisers

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - August 17, 2009) - Fisher Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSCI) today announced that it has launched a network of 43 hyperlocal neighborhood Web sites in the Seattle market, increasing local content offerings and expanding advertising opportunities for local businesses. The hyperlocal sites bring together KOMO television's valuable content and DataSphere Technologies' new LocalNet service, an online platform that provides technology, advertising and sales solutions.

This extensive network of Web sites will be the largest hyperlocal system in any one region in the country. The sites are designed to provide local communities with the best source of information about the news, events, entertainment and personalities relevant to their day-to-day lives. The new sites include BallardKOMO.com, BellevueKOMO.com and 41 others. A complete list of the sites can be found at http://www.komonews.com/communities.

"These sites further integrate KOMO News into the fabric of the neighborhoods of Seattle," said Fisher Seattle Vice President and General Manager Jim Clayton. "They will provide KOMO News with an excellent opportunity to build relationships with small local businesses and enhance the timeliness and breadth of our news gathering operations."

To support its hyperlocal Web sites, KOMO will restructure its Seattle newsroom to effectively and efficiently capture and post community news on a real-time basis. Local stories and breaking news that KOMO reporters cover on a daily basis will be complemented with user generated content, and also with content provided through an innovative partnership with Windermere Real Estate, a company with local knowledge and strong presence in each community.

Fisher's President and CEO Colleen B. Brown explained, "As consumers are increasingly tapping into social and digital media platforms for their news and information, we are implementing our strategic plan and adapting initiatives and content offerings to match these changing industry dynamics." She added, "We are using our rich broadcast heritage as the foundation for our 'broadcast to broadband' initiative in order to provide cost efficient relevant information to our audience and more targeted messaging for our advertisers."

Troy McGuire, vice president of news and general manager of Fisher Interactive Network, said, "We believe we have differentiated our hyperlocal program from others by developing an innovative content development strategy and an ability to rapidly monetize our program."

The new sites are the first example of DataSphere Technologies' new LocalNet service, which provides TV broadcasters and other local media companies with the opportunity to take advantage of powerful existing brands and communication channels to build relevant and valuable online assets. LocalNet is a complete solution to address the local small business advertising market, including not only technology but also a seasoned, professional sales team. New clients can be up and running within weeks.

"Fisher Communications is a true leader in the extension of traditional media to the online world," said Satbir Khanuja, CEO of DataSphere Technologies. "We are thrilled to be working closely with them. Our solution provides an exciting vision for companies seeking to grow their online revenue without a substantial technology or sales force investment."

This latest collaboration between Fisher and DataSphere builds on Fisher's earlier adoption of DataSphere's Search and Discovery for Media. The original implementation resulted in an increase in search driven page views of more than 5 times and more than a 25% increase in gross Web site revenue within the first 3 months.

Fisher expects to launch similar platforms in its other markets, beginning with Portland later this fall. In addition, Fisher and DataSphere anticipate distributing the technology and sales solution to other broadcast companies looking to establish hyperlocal sites.

NOTE: KOMO has produced three 30-second videos to promote the Company's hyperlocal Web sites. The videos can be found at http://communities.komonews.com/content/komo-communities.

About Fisher Communications, Inc.

Fisher Communications, Inc. is a Seattle-based communications company that owns and operates 13 full power television stations (including a 50%-owned television station), 7 low power television stations, and 8 radio stations (in addition to 2 radio stations not owned by the Company but for which the Company provides programming or sales services) in the Western United States. The Company also owns and operates Fisher Interactive Network, its online division; Fisher Pathways, a satellite and fiber transmission provider; and Fisher Plaza, a media, telecommunications, and data center facility located near downtown Seattle. For more information about Fisher Communications, Inc., go to www.fsci.com.

About DataSphere

DataSphere Technologies, Inc. (http://www.DataSphere.com) is a Software as a Service (SaaS) Web technology and hyperlocal ad sales company focused on generating online profits for media companies. DataSphere offers a range of turnkey solutions to rapidly improve site monetization and experience with minimal investment of time and money.

DataSphere is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, USA and led by a team of Internet veterans with backgrounds from Amazon.com, IMDb, Microsoft, RealNetworks and AltaVista.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release includes forward-looking statements. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations and projections about future events. Forward-looking statements include information preceded by, followed by, or that includes the words "guidance," "believes," "expects," "anticipates," or "could," or similar expressions. For these statements, the Company claims the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release, concerning, among other things, changes in revenue, cash flow and operating expenses, involve risks and uncertainties, and are subject to change based on various important factors, including the impact of changes in national and regional economies, our ability to service and refinance our outstanding debt, successful integration of acquired television stations (including achievement of synergies and cost reductions), pricing fluctuations in local and national advertising, future regulatory actions and conditions in the television stations' operating areas, competition from others in the broadcast television markets served by the Company, volatility in programming costs, the effects of governmental regulation of broadcasting, industry consolidation, technological developments and major world news events. Unless required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking events discussed in this news release might not occur. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release. For more details on factors that could affect these expectations, please see the risk factors in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, as updated by the risk factors contained in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2009, both of which we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Fisher Communications
    Sard Verbinnen & Co
    Ron Low or David Isaacs
    (415) 618-8750

    DataSphere
    Erin Coffey Rinabarger
    Email Contact
    (425) 644-7540