Gray 4Q Broadcast Revenue Climbs 38%
Gray Television this morning announced that total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2020 came in at $792 million, that’s an increase of $213 million, or 37%, from 4Q 2019. That was broken down into Broadcasting ($763 million, up 38%) and Production Companies ($29 million, up 25%).
With total core revenue at $284 million, down about 8% from a year ago, the big revenue drivers were political and retransmission consent.
That Broadcasting revenue total comprised:
- Local advertising revenue (including internet/digital/mobile) of $222 million, down 9% from $243 million.
- National advertising revenue of $62 million, down 7% from $67 million.
- Political advertising revenue of $245 million, up 545% from $38 million.
- Retransmission consent revenue of $217 million, up 11% from $195 million.
The Production company revenue totaled $29 million, up 16% from $25 million.
Other revenue totaled $17 million, up 55% from $11 million.
The company said: “In the fourth quarter of 2020, our combined local and national broadcast revenue, excluding political revenue, decreased by approximately 8% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, much of which can be attributed to historically strong political displacement in a large number of markets. In light of returning advertiser demand, the year-over-year declines in total core revenue continued their improvement through the fourth quarter of 2020 as follows: October declined 22%, largely impacted by political displacement, November declined less than 1% and December declined by 2%.
“During the fourth quarter of 2020, we repurchased 972,706 shares of our common stock at an average price of $16.44 per share, including commissions, for a total cost of approximately $16 million. During 2020, we repurchased 5.5 million shares of our common stock on the open market at an average price of $13.80 per share, including commissions, for a total cost of $75 million.”
Read the company’s report here.
Also today, Gray authorized the initiation of a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.08 per share of its common stock and Class A common stock. The first dividend is payable on March 31 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 15. Gray last paid a dividend to common stock and Class A common stockholders on Oct. 15, 2008.
“We are very pleased to announce that we are initiating a quarterly cash dividend program,” said Gray Executive Chairman and CEO Hilton H. Howell Jr. “Our board’s decision to reinstate our dividend program after a long hiatus reflects the strong free cash flow generated by our high quality operations, our positive outlook on the continued growth of our business, and our continued commitment to deliver value to our shareholders. We also believe that the annual capital that we plan to allocate to dividend payments nevertheless provides us with ample liquidity to reduce leverage, continue to consider accretive acquisitions, and pursue other initiatives to enhance long-term value for our shareholders.”