Sinclair 4Q Media Revenue Climbs 25.4%

The increase to $848.9 million comes from higher political ad money plus greater contributions from retrans and its digital businesses as well as improved core.

Sinclair Broadcast Group this morning reported that its fourth quarter 2018 media revenues grew 22.5% to $848.9 million from $693.1 million in 4Q 2017.

Breaking down the 3Q media revenue:

  • Political revenues were $149.6 million versus $15.5 million in 4Q 2017, a non-election year.
  • Revenues from digital businesses increased 22.5%.
  • Distribution revenues were $334.1 million versus $299.9 million.

The company’s total 4Q revenues grew 25.4% to $893.3 million from $712.5 million in 4Q 2017.

Sinclair’s 4Q operating income was $263.0 million, including $3 million of legal, regulatory and other non-recurring costs, versus operating income of $357.6 million in the prior year period.

The company’s net income was $206.2 million, versus net income of $443.5 million in the prior year period.

Diluted earnings per common share were $2.10 as compared to $4.32 in the prior year period.


Chris Ripley, president-CEO, said: “We ended 2018 on a very positive note, beating guidance on all financial metrics, with core advertising revenues improving from the first half of the year despite the crowding out effect from having our best mid-term political ad spending election year on record

“Building on a base of $255 million in political ad spending for 2018 and a number of candidates already declaring their candidacy for the presidency, we expect 2020’s political advertising to be yet another record year for us, with some of the ad spending expected as early as the fourth quarter of this year.

“In addition, we and the industry are making significant strides on the implementation of ATSC 3.0 (Next Gen Broadcast) with recent announcements of a global mobile chip design, collaboration on over-the-top and over-the-air technologies, and broad industry support to begin 3.0 deployments this year.

“We exited the year with a strong balance sheet and liquidity position while executing on share repurchases totaling 11% of our total shares since August 2018 and continue to create shareholder value through content acquisitions such as the Chicago Cubs RSN joint venture.”

For the full year 2018, total revenues increased 15.9% to $3,055.1 million versus $2,636.2 million in the prior year period. Net income was $341.2 million, which includes $75 million in ticking fee costs related to the financing commitments for the terminated Tribune acquisition, versus net income of $576.0 million in the prior year period.

The company also declared a $0.20 quarterly dividend per share.

Read the company’s report here.

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