Sinclair Posts 23.5% Gain In 4Q Revenue

Local revenue (including retrans) was up 19%, national rose 35%. It is reinstating quarterly dividends beginning in March.

Sinclair Broadcast Group today reported financial results for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2010. Net broadcast revenues from continuing operations were $189.9 million, an increase of 23.5% versus the prior year period result of $153.9 million.

The company had operating income of $81.3 million, as compared to an operating loss of $66.1 million in the prior year period. It reported net income of $33.1 million versus a net loss of $67.8 million in the prior year period.

Political revenues were $26.8 million in the fourth quarter 2010 versus $4.1 million in fourth quarter 2009. For the 2010 year, political revenues hit an all-time high of $41.9 million, which was a 34.9% increase over 2006’s and a 2% increase over 2008’s political revenues.

Local net broadcast revenues, which include local time sales, retransmission revenues and other broadcast revenues, were up 18.9% in the fourth quarter while national net broadcast revenues, which include national time sales and other national broadcast revenues, were up 35.3% versus the fourth quarter 2009.

Excluding political revenues, local net broadcast revenues were up 12.1% and national net broadcast revenues were up 0.2% in the fourth quarter.

Advertising categories that reported the largest spending increases in the fourth quarter were automotive, services, telecommunications, media, furniture, and schools, while religious, medical, home products, pharmacy and fast food ad spending reported the largest decreases. Automotive, Sinclair’s largest category, was up 25.1%, while services, its second-largest category, was up 16.8% in the quarter.


“2010 ended on an even stronger note than originally anticipated with record levels of political advertising helping to drive net broadcast revenues up 23.5% in the quarter,” commented David Smith, Sinclair president-CEO. “For the year, excluding political, revenues from our core television business finished up 12%, led by the automotive recovery. We expect to see continued improvement in our core advertising, driving our top-line in 2011. Based on the strength of the business and the cash flow generated, we made a special $0.43 per share cash dividend distribution to our shareholders in the fourth quarter of 2010, and for 2011 are permitted under our Bank Credit Agreement to return up to $40 million in dividends and/or share repurchases to our shareholders. I am pleased to report that due to our optimistic 2011 outlook and confidence in the economy longer-term, our board of directors has reinstated our dividend policy and declared a regular quarterly dividend in the amount of $0.12 per share, beginning with the payment date of March 15, 2011.”

Read the company’s report here.

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