$27.8 million in political ad money, as well as strong gains in local, national and retrans, account for the increase.
Sinclair Broadcast Group today reported that net broadcast revenues from continuing operations were $226.4 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, an increase of 49% versus the prior year period result of $151.9 million.
The company had operating income of $78.6 million in the quarter, as compared to $52.4 million in the prior year period. Net income was $26.2 million, versus $19.2 million a year ago.
Sinclair reported diluted earnings per common share of $0.32 for the quarter versus $0.24 in the prior year period.
In the quarter:
- Political revenues were $27.8 million in the third quarter 2012, versus $2.4 million in third quarter 2011.
- Local net broadcast revenues, which include local time sales, retransmission revenues, and other broadcast revenues, were up 34.5% in the third quarter 2012, while national net broadcast revenues, which include national time sales and other national broadcast revenues, were up 96.8%.
Excluding political revenues, local net broadcast revenues were up 33% and national net broadcast revenues were up 32.2% in the third quarter. On a same station basis, excluding political revenues, local net broadcast revenues were up 7.3% and national net broadcast revenues were up 2.4%.
- Advertising categories, on a same-station basis, that reported the largest spending increases in the third quarter 2012, as compared to the same period last year, were automotive, which was up 12.2%, direct response and telecommunications.
The increased demand for commercial air time by political candidates, political action committees and issue-related organizations resulted in spending decreases in many of the Company’s regular advertising categories. Among these were services, schools, fast food, media, and restaurants. Sinclair said it expects this trend to continue through the Nov. 6 election day “as political advertising reaches historic levels.”Brand Connections
“We are very pleased with our results for the third quarter, which were driven by increased advertising spending by the political and automotive categories, as well as higher retransmission revenues,” said David Smith, Sinclair president-CEO. “Despite increased demand for air-time by politicians and political action groups, the core business showed solid growth. On a same station basis, excluding political, net broadcast revenues grew 6.9% in the third quarter.”
“We continue to reinvest in the company’s long term growth, having recently entered into an agreement to buy the non-license assets of KBTV, the Fox affiliate in the Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas, market, where we also own the CBS station. We also entered into an agreement to sell our ABC station, WLAJ, in Lansing, Mich., as part of our on-going portfolio evaluation in which we identify pockets of opportunity as well as non-strategic markets.”
Smith continued, “In an extraordinary, value-creation action and in anticipation of a potential increase in dividend tax rates in 2013, the board of directors decided to return approximately $81.2 million of value to our shareholders in the form of a $1 per share special cash dividend, in addition to our regular $0.15 per share quarterly dividend.”
Read the company’s report here.