Sinclair 4Q Media Revenue Drops 6%

The decrease to $1.49 billion comes despite higher political ad revenue that couldn't offset weakness in core advertising caused by the pandemic.

Sinclair Broadcast Group this morning reported that its fourth quarter 2020 total revenue decreased 7% to $1.5 billion as compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. Media revenues decreased 6% to $1,490 million versus $1,581 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Political revenues were $205 million in the fourth quarter versus $23 million a year ago due to 2020 being a presidential election year.

Distribution revenues were $917 million versus $1,104 million.

The company’s operating income was $625 million including $16 million of non-recurring costs for transaction, COVID, legal, litigation, and regulatory costs. Excluding those adjustments, operating income totaled $641 million, an increase of $319 million compared to the 4Q 2019, which contained Adjustments of $45 million.

Net income was $467 million versus net income of $44 million in the prior year period.

Adjusted EBITDA, which excludes the adjustments, was $617 million, up 37% versus the fourth quarter of 2019.


Chris Ripley, president-CEO, said: “Certainly 2020 will be a year not soon forgotten. The year was remarkable for its hardships, such as the pandemic that had a significant impact on people’s lives, the economy, and professional sports, and also its bright spots, such as the record political ad spending which helped offset weakness in core advertising caused by the pandemic.

In addition, the year was meaningful from a company perspective, as the initiatives we undertook during the year, including our enterprisewide agreement with Bally’s around legalized sports betting, and the progress made in launching NEXTGEN TV in our broadcast markets, laid the groundwork for Sinclair’s growth in the years to come.”

Ripley continued, “While subscriber churn continues to be elevated, it was encouraging to see improvement in the core ad environment in the fourth quarter. Ripley concluded, “2021 is shaping up to be another important year for Sinclair with the upcoming launch of a new, enhanced streaming app for our regional sports networks (RSNs), ushering in a new paradigm for how viewers can watch and interact with major local sporting events. The planned gamification of the viewing experience will make for a much more engaging and exciting way for fans to cheer on their local sports teams. Our RSNs will soon be rebranded with the Bally Sports name, and we will work with Bally’s on exciting new programming and other initiatives to help drive growth.

“Along with other actions planned for the year, including the broader deployment of NEXTGEN TV and the recent launch of our national news initiative, The National Desk, we are optimistic about the future of Sinclair.”

Read the company’s report here.

This morning, Sinclair also announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.20 per share on the company’s Class A and Class B common stock. The dividend is payable on March 24 to the holders of record at the close of business on March 10.

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