Gray TV Revs Rocket 24%
Barry Diller-backed Aereo service could chip away at revenues, but it should be a while before any threat materializes, mused a top executive at a station group operating in smaller markets. Only in New York so far, Aereo streams broadcast channels to mobile devices and could cut down the money stations receive from cable/satellite/telco TV operators.
Gray Television COO Bob Prather
said Diller is “a big market guy, and I would think it would be a long, long time before he got past the top-25 markets,” meaning that Los Angeles and San Francisco are likely to have
Aereo access considerably before Gray-served areas, such as Tallahassee and Knoxville.
Still, Prather suggested that if Aereo gains momentum, it could be difficult to stop. “It's hard to fight technology,” Prather said on a conference call Friday. “If there's a superior technology out there, it's hard to keep it underground.”
The major networks, which own stations in large markets, sought to halt Aereo’s growth in court, but lost that initial effort. Further litigation is planned.
Gray, which operates in 30 markets, posted strong revenue growth in the second quarter with help from political advertising, including a special election in Wisconsin. Revenues were up 24% to $95 million. Profits rose from $771,000 to $9.8 million.
As a U.S. Olympic team sponsor, AT&T is running a slew of spots on NBC’s Olympics coverage, which could account for its pulling the reins in on some spending. Prather said the wireless category has weakened recently.
AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are “always competitive,” he noted, "but I just think they're all reassessing strategies and figuring out how to go after more subscribers. It seems like they're all planning right now, and not spending nearly as much."