Sinclair Media Revenue Dips 5% In 1Q
Sinclair Broadcast Group this morning reported that its first quarter 2021 total revenue decreased 6% to $1,511 million as compared to the first quarter of 2020. Media revenues decreased 5% to $1,497 million versus $1,574 million in the year-ago quarter.
Total advertising revenues of $371 million decreased 7% versus $400 million in the prior year period, due to the absence of political revenues, as 2021 is a non-political year.
Core advertising revenues, which excludes political revenues, in the first quarter of $367 million were up 3% versus $358 million in the first quarter of 2020, benefiting from more local sports games taking place in the quarter compared to the same period a year ago.
Distribution revenues were $1.109 million versus $1,156 million, with the decrease driven by certain distributors that dropped carriage of the RSNs, as well as higher subscriber churn in the Pay TV industry in the quarter compared to the same period a year ago.
The company’s operating income was $35 million and included adjustments of $32 million versus operating income of $327 million in the prior year period, which included $20 million of adjustments. Operating income when excluding the adjustments decreased to $67 million from $347 million for the same prior-year period.
Net loss was $12 million versus net income of $123 million in the prior year period. Excluding adjustments, the company had net income of $13 million.
Adjusted EBITDA, which excludes adjustments, decreased 35% to $182 million from $281 million in the prior year period.
Chris Ripley, president-CEO, said: “Results for the quarter were much better than expected and reflect a strong recovery in the core advertising market, cost controls and timing of games played. We are optimistic that the rebound in advertising spending bodes well for the rest of the year, where we are lapping easy comparisons to the prior year, which was significantly impacted by the pandemic.”
Ripley continued, “At the end of the quarter, Sinclair entered a new era of sports viewing with the rebranding of our RSNs with the Bally Sports name. The roll-out went off without a hitch, thanks to the tireless efforts of our entire sports marketing team. The feedback has been very positive across all stakeholders, as the rebrand was a significant upgrade to the product’s graphics, and we are energized to be bringing local sports viewers the very best experience to root for their favorite hometown sports teams. With the recent launch of our new Bally Sports App, the stage is set to elevate sports viewing to a whole new level, allowing a more interactive and personalized experience.”
Ripley concluded, “We continue to focus on initiatives to create a more dynamic viewing experience across all our platforms, creating live interactive programming, building our gamification offerings, deploying NextGen TV, and developing our direct to consumer platforms, to improve the consumer experience and engagement.”
Read the company’s report here.
Also this morning, Sinclair’s 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 June 15 to the holders of record at the close of business on June 1.