Strong core advertising and retransmission consent money plus higher digital revenue are key drivers.
Sinclair Broadcast Group reported today that in the three months ended March 31, its net broadcast revenues from continuing operations increased 24.1% to $464.2 million versus $412.6 million in the prior year period.
The Super Bowl, which aired on Sinclair’s 19 NBC stations, generated $1.7 million in revenues versus $8.2 million in the first quarter of 2014 when it aired on the company’s 31 Fox stations.
Operating income was $84.5 million, an increase of 4.4%, versus operating income of $81.0 million in the prior year period.
Net income was $24.3 million, versus net income of $27.2 million in the prior year period.
Political revenues were were $2.2 million versus $6.1 million in the first quarter of 2014.
Revenues from digital offerings increased 77.8% in the first quarter. The company’s Web and mobile platforms had more than 41 million unique visitors and almost eight million social media fans and followers, on average during the first quarter.
Sinclair President-CEO David Smith said: “Our first quarter results slightly exceeded the high end of our revenue guidance due to both favorable core advertising and retransmission revenues. In addition, we had favorable variances in a number of our expense categories.
“Recently, we announced several initiatives expected to add longer-term value and growth opportunities, including the launch of our Digital Ventures group, which will develop and enhance our digital capabilities, as well as a partnership with Visible World for a programmatic/audience network platform that will allow us to compete for network and cable national advertising dollars.”