The company’s media revenue rose 9.2% year-over-year in the quarter to $695.9 million, bolstered by $28 million in political advertising. The revenue outlook for the third quarter is also good. Sinclair said it expected media revenue of between $710 million and $722 million, which would be a gain of anywhere from 12.8% and 14.7% compared to the quarter last year.
Retrans and political helped offset lower ad revenue. Looking forward, CEO Perry Sook said that core is pacing better in 3Q and auto is a key improving category. Also on the upswing: attorneys, medical-health care, home repair, insurance, entertainment, utilities, real estate, lumber and hardware.
Gray EVP Kevin Latek said that Gray has received “very strong interest” in the nine stations that Gray said it would spin off from the Raycom merger to comply with the FCC local ownership limits. The interest has come from established broadcasters and new entrants. “We expect to finalize the divestiture agreements and get them to the FCC and the antitrust division for review by the end of this month.”
Once ownership questions get settled at the FCC, Tegna says it is ready to look at any and all types of M&A transactions.
The station group enjoyed an $8 million, 2% gain in revenue to $420 million in the second quarter, driven by retransmission consent revenue. And looking forward, political will drive a double-digit increase in local income during the third quarter, with political really rolling starting at the beginning of 4Q in October.
Over the last month or so, Dave Seyler and I have been dutifully sitting in on the earnings conference calls of the TV station groups and writing stories about them. However, upon reflection, we feel that we may not have given you a complete picture. At the same time, we realize that you don’t have time to listen to or read all the transcripts. So, as a reader service, we have produced a single composite transcript that seems to cover everything. Read on.
The company sees itself well-positioned for this year’s midterm election campaign spending. It has stations in 19 of 36 governor contests, with eight appearing to be highly competitive; it has 16 of 34 Senate races, with eight competitive; and Tegna’s 33% U.S. footprint suggests it will benefit from some 150 House races.
In spite of that, the groups execs see plenty of positves ahead this year including political advertising, retrans growth and the acquisition by Fox of Thursday Night Football. “Given the fact that Fox has been struggling in scripted primetime shows, putting in football should be a huge plus for the Fox network and for Sinclair in particular because of our huge exposure,” said COO Steven Marks.
Nexstar CEO Perry Sook said that retrans drove its 4Q and full-year financials, surpassing local advertising as the company’s top revenue stream. “We think the value proposition of our local content is equal to, and perhaps greater than, the value contribution from marquee network content,” Sook said.
In its earnings call Tuesday, the NBC-heavy group says this time next year it’s likely to be reporting revenue topping $1 billion, aided by Super Bowl, Olympics plus 20% higher retrans.