Like other TV station companies, Sinclair Broadcast Group has found strong results for the last quarter in 2010.
Broadcast revenues climbed 23.5% to $189.9 million, with net income moving into the black -- $33.0 million from a net loss of $67.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 -- chiefly from strong political and automotive sales.
While a major part of Sinclair's big gains came from election advertising, its core non-political ads improved 12% -- in part benefiting from a stronger automotive business. Automotive gained 25.1%, while services -- Sinclair's second-largest category -- was 16.8% higher in the quarter. For the year, automotive was up 36.9% and represented 17.9% of Sinclair's overall advertising sales.
Political revenues were $26.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 versus $4.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. For the year as a whole, political revenues hit a record of $41.9 million -- a 34.9% increase over 2006 and a 2.0% hike over 2008 political revenues.
Revenues from this year's Super Bowl for Sinclair's 20 Fox affiliated stations were $6.2 million -- up 26.5% from the $4.9 million it generated in 2008, the last time that Fox aired the Super Bowl.
Local advertising sales, transmission revenues, and other broadcast revenues were up 18.9%. National advertising sales gained 35.3%.
Looking forward, Sinclair estimates a 5.3% to 5.8% gain in first-quarter 2011 net broadcast revenues from continuing operations, to between $155.7 million and $156.5 million.
David Smith, president/chief executive officer of Sinclair Broadcast Group, stated: "We expect to see continued improvement in our core advertising, driving our top line in 2011."