Sinclair Sees Big Super Bowl/Olympic Ad Gains, But Concerns About Joint Sales Agreements Remain

Major revenue gains for Super Bowl, Winter Olympics and retransmission fees -- as well as revenue from new station acquisitions made in 2013 --- sharply increased Sinclair Broadcast Group broadcast revenues in the first quarter.

Net broadcast revenues from continuing operations rocketed up 47.8% to $373.9 million against $252.9 million in the first quarter of 2013. Net income grew 60% to $27.7 million against $16.9 million.

With regard to specific advertising categories, the biggest positive movers included services, medical, schools and furniture marketers. Those declining include direct-response, and weather-sensitive categories including retail, fast food, restaurants, and automotive.

The Super Bowl, which aired on Sinclair’s 31 Fox stations, pulled in $8.2 million in revenues against $2.5 million in the first quarter of 2013 when it aired on the Sinclair's 11 CBS stations. The Sochi Winter Olympics, which aired on Sinclair's 12 NBC stations, generated $3.7 million in the first quarter of 2014.

Political revenues were $6.1 million versus $900,000 in the first quarter of 2013. Taking out political revenues, local net broadcast revenues increased 49.3% and national net broadcast revenues increased 32.6% versus the first quarter of 2013.

Going forward, it expects net broadcast revenues to continue to soar -- to be approximately $396.1 million to $399.6 million in the second quarter of 2014 up 41.8% to 43.1% year-over-year.

Political revenues will also improve, according to the company. It estimates to get $10.5 million in political revenues as compared to $1.5 million in the second quarter of 2013.

Midday trading of Sinclair Broadcast Group was down 2.6% to $27.97. Analysts worry Sinclair might be affected concerning joint sales agreements (JSAs) of TV stations which the Federal Communications Commission has said it wants to restrict and/or eliminate in some cases.

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