Sinclair, Mediacom Talk Carriage, Political Dollars Soar

BoxingGlovesSinclair and Mediacom, which have engaged in mortal combat before, could find themselves in negotiations until the last hours of 2012 to prevent the blackout of a load of stations. Sinclair, the large station group, has begun talks with Mediacom on a new carriage deal.

The current one is slated to expire at the end of the year.

In early 2007, the two could not reach an agreement on how much Mediacom would pay Sinclair for carriage rights and a lengthy blackout ensued. Contentious negotiations ensued at the end of 2009 before a deal was reached. Mediacom looked to the FCC for relief in both instances.
A blackout could have covered more than 20 stations and affected some 600,000 customers in 2010.
On its call with investors, Sinclair also said that its carriage, or retrans consent arrangement with DirecTV expires in February. In August, it reached a deal with Dish Network.
Separately, Sinclair reported third-quarter results with net income up 36%. CFO David Amy said “we feel very good about the business as we head into ’13.” The company has been on an acquisition binge this year that has given it many more CBS stations, which should bring in added Super Bowl dollars in February.
The company also reported that the auto ad category (up 12.2% on a same-station basis) is strong and -- unlike at least one peer company -- telecom advertising is also robust, with AT&T spending heavily on direct-response ads.
Political dollars have been huge, with about 15% coming from superPACs. For the year, the company expects political revenues to reach nearly $100 million, with more than half coming in from the Oct. 1 through Election Day period.



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