Political ad money powers the gain, aided by a 26% increase in local revenue, including retrans.
Sinclair Broadcast Group today reported financial results for the three months ended March 31 that included net broadcast revenues from continuing operations of $192.2 million, an increase of 23.2% versus the prior year period result of $156 million.
The company had operating income of $59.9 million in the three-month period, as compared to $51.5 million in the prior-year period. Net income was $29.4 million versus $15.3 million a year ago.
Political revenues were $3.6 million in the first quarter 2012 versus $600,000 in first quarter 2011. On a same-station basis, political revenues in the first quarter 2012 were $3.2 million.
Revenues from the Super Bowl, which aired on the company’s one NBC station was approximately $100,000 in the first quarter 2012 as compared to $6.2 million in the same period the prior year when it aired on the company’s 20 Fox affiliates.
Local net broadcast revenues, which include local time sales, retransmission revenues, and other broadcast revenues, were up 26.4% in the first quarter 2012 while national net broadcast revenues, which include national time sales and other national broadcast revenues, were up 12.4% versus the first quarter 2011.
Excluding political revenues, local net broadcast revenues were up 26.1% and national net broadcast revenues were up 5.3% in the first quarter. On a same-station basis, local net broadcast revenues were up 8.4% and national net broadcast revenues were down 0.6%.
Advertising categories that reported the largest spending increases in the first quarter on a same-station basis, as compared to the same period last year, were automotive, media and medical, while services, schools, fast food, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and entertainment were down the most.
Automotive, Sinclair’s largest category, was up 2% in the quarter, on a same-station basis.
Effective Jan. 1, the company closed and funded on its previously announced acquisition of seven television stations from Four Points Media.
Effective April 1, the company closed and funded on its previously announced acquisition of eight television stations from Freedom Communications. During the first quarter of 2012, the company operated the stations under a local marketing agreement.
“We are extremely pleased with our progress in integrating the newly acquired stations into our company,” commented David Smith, Sinclair president-CEO. “This was an enormous task given the number of stations added, and the level of success we have had with the transition speaks volumes to the focus and quality of our staff and management team.
“As for our legacy Sinclair stations, they increased their core net broadcast revenues by 9.2% in the first quarter, excluding political and Super Bowl revenues.”
Read the company’s report here.