EARNINGS CALL

Scripps Sees Political Heating Up After Slow-ish Start

The station group has increased its political estimates for the election cycle based on expectations for a very strong back half of the year. That’s not only because of general election races, but also ballot measures related to reproductive rights, which could be substantial.

Comcast Rolls Out ‘Now’ Prepaid Internet, Mobile Brand Nationwide

Comcast said its Now Internet and Now Mobile prepaid services are now available nationwide across the cable operator’s footprint. The Now brand is designed to be a low-cost option for consumers looking for reliable digital connectivity services.

ChatGPT Maker OpenAI To Unveil Google Search Competitor On Monday

OpenAI plans to announce its artificial intelligence-powered search product on Monday, according to two sources familiar with the matter, raising the stakes in its competition with search king Google. The announcement date, though subject to change, has not been previously reported. Bloomberg and the Information have reported that Microsoft-backed OpenAI is working on a search product to potentially compete with Alphabet’s Google and with Perplexity, a well-funded AI search startup.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Vice Media Partners With Savage Ventures To Relaunch Digital Brands

Vice Media said Thursday it will create a joint venture with Nashville-based Savage Ventures to relaunch its digital properties, including Vice.com, Munchies, Motherboard and Noisey. The deal will see Savage Ventures investing “tens of millions of dollars” into the joint venture, a Vice spokesperson said.

Maryland Enacts Privacy Law Opposed By Ad Industry

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on Thursday signed a privacy law that imposes tough new restrictions on online data collection and ad targeting. Major ad industry groups had urged Moore to veto the measure, which the groups said includes “the most onerous and restrictive approach to data privacy in the United States to date.”

KXAS Dallas, WTVF Nashville Pick Up Peabody Awards

KXAS Dallas-Fort Worth and WTVF Nashville have won 2024 Peabody Awards. Given out by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, 34 winners were named. They represent “the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and streaming media” in 2023.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Scripps Q1 Station Revenue Climbs 13%

The increase to $353 million was driven by increased political advertising and distribution revenue. For the company as a whole, total Q1 revenue was $561 million, a decrease of 6.4%, or $33.7 million.

CLOSING BELL

Dow Climbs 331, Nasdaq Adds 44, S&P Rises 26

Wall Street rose Thursday to pull the S&P 500 back within 1% of its record. A report showing a pickup in layoffs helped to support the market.

David Loving Named President-GM Of KHOU-KTBU Houston

Tegna moves him from GM of WOI-KCWI Des Moines, Iowa, to oversee its Texas CBS-Quest duopoly.

NAB Leadership Foundation And For A Bright Future Foundation To Partner

Today, the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation (NABLF) announced a partnership with the Foundation For A Bright Future (FABF), a nonprofit dedicated to supporting underprivileged and underrepresented children. NAB […]

Sinclair Looking At Selling Roughly 30% Of Its Stations, Sources Say

The company has hired Moelis as its investment banker and has identified more than 60 stations in various regions of the U.S. that it would be willing to sell, said people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Sinclair owns or operates 185 TV stations in 86 markets. The stations are a mix of Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS and CW affiliates. If sold together, their average revenue for 2023 and 2024 is an estimated $1.56 billion, the people said. Sinclair is willing to sell all or some of the stations, which are in top markets like Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; Pittsburgh; Austin, Texas and Fresno, Calif., among others.

Nexstar CEO On CBS Stations – Can’t Buy Them Under Current Regulatory Regime “But If That Were To Change, Maybe Our Opinion Would Change”

Telemundo Aims To Build On Ratings Momentum At Upfront

The Spanish-language broadcaster unveils a lineup that includes a sequel to El Senor de los Cielos and two new unscripted series alongside returning favorites.

EARNINGS CALL

Sook Sees Growth — But Not Streaming — In His Nexstar Crystal Ball

The Nexstar CEO tells analysts: “If I had to bet, I would bet the company will be larger three years from now than it is today. What acquisition will lead to that in combination with organic growth? I can’t really say. But I’m excited to run out those ground balls and find out.” What it won’t include is streaming, he added: “The main reason we’re not in streaming is because we just don’t think it’s a good business.”

Allen Media Renews, Expands Carriage Deal With Hawaiian Telcom

The multiyear agreement also includes launch of two additional cable networks and continued carriage of AMG’s KITV and KIKU Honolulu.

SXSW Festival To Expand With Launch Of London Edition In June 2025

QUARTERLY REPORT

Warner Bros. Discover’s Q1 Advertising Dips, But Streaming Is Profitable

Overall, revenue of $9.958 billion was down from the year before and shy of Wall Street expectations, of over $10 billion. Ditto with net loss per share of 40 cents. TV numbers felt the impact of strikes with fewer episodes delivered. Streaming was a bright spot, where WBD added 2 million subs to 99.6 million and had a profit of $86 million, up from $50 million the year before. Revenue firmed, including a 70% jump in ad sales.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Nexstar’s Q1 Net Revenue Rises 2.1%

The total of $1.284 billion was attributed to increased distribution revenue and higher political revenue of $39 million.

Sony And Apollo’s Plan For Paramount: Break It Up

CBS and other well-known properties would be sold if Sony and Apollo were able to buy Paramount. But the new owners would keep the movie studio.

Art Directors Guild Suspends Training & Job Placement Program, Citing 75% Unemployment

Vizio Reports $12.1 Million Loss For First Quarter

EARNINGS CALL

Political And Distribution Money Push Sinclair

In discussing Q1 performance, Lucy Rutishauser, Sinclair’s CFO, reported that “as compared to last year, consolidated media revenues increased to $792 million during the quarter, primarily on the higher political revenues and an increase in distribution revenue.” CEO Chris Ripley highlighted the company’s Broadspan, which is offering a new content distribution service that combines OTT and OTA distribution of live streaming events.

CLOSING BELL

Dow Rises 172, Nasdaq Slips 30, S&P Finishes Flat

Wall Street’s lull stretched to a second day as indexes finish mixed Wednesday.

Gray Announces Quarterly Cash Dividend Of $0.08 Per Share

Gray Television announced Wednesday that its board of directors has authorized a quarterly cash dividend of $0.08 per share of its common stock and Class A common stock. The dividend is […]

QUARTERLY REPORT

Sinclair 1Q Revenue Rises 3%

The increase to $798 million was driven by the Local Media segment, which grew to $792 million from $766 million in the same quarter a year ago as well as higher distribution revenue.

Warner Bros. Discovery Plans Fresh Cost Cuts, Hike In Max Price

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has ordered his lieutenants to find additional opportunities for cost-cutting in order to hit financial targets for the next couple years, people with knowledge of the matter said. They include the possibility of more layoffs at the company, which has eliminated more than 2,000 positions over the past year, said the people, who asked not to be identified. The streaming operation alone could bear hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts, mostly in marketing and technology, the people said.

EARNINGS CALL

Political, Sports And Premion Have Tegna Fired Up

Dave Lougee, president-CEO, said Tegna stations cover six of the seven swing states that are likely to impact the presidential race. In addition, the company is starting to capture political dollars beyond its stations’ footprint through Premion, the company’s connected TV ad platform.

EchoStar Loses 213,000 Dish & 135,000 Sling TV Subscribers In First Quarter

EchoStar lost about 348,000 net pay TV subscribers in the first quarter, compared with a drop of 552,000 in the year-ago period, the company said on Wednesday. The company disclosed in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that it lost around 135,000 net Sling TV subscribers in the latest quarter, compared with a year-ago loss of 234,000. It ended March with 1.92 million Sling TV subs.

Meta To Provide Advertisers With Automated Image, Text Variations For Ads

As artificial intelligence becomes increasingly integrated into advertising, Meta is introducing new ways marketers can use generative AI (GAI) to focus less on “mundane tasks” and more on creative strategy. At a press event on Tuesday, the tech giant announced the rollout of full image and text generation. For the first time, advertisers will be able to create full image variations based on their original ad creative with text overlay capabilities that generate new backgrounds around product images and alter images to better fit multiple surfaces.

UPFRONTS

Nexstar Pitches Sports On The CW, Extra Reach Via Stations

If upfront advertisers are looking for reach, Nexstar Media Group believes its base of local stations gives it a unique way to achieve that goal. Michael Strober, Nexstar chief revenue officer, says that even advertisers interested in the sports programming that Nexstar has added to The CW Network, can benefit from a national-local approach. “If you care about college football, we have ACC football and you can buy that on The CW,” Strober said. “Then you can extend that reach across all of the Nexstar affiliates on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, who all carry college football every week,” he said.