Over-delivering on expected big advertising gains, Sinclair Broadcast Group posted 60% higher political revenues versus comparable midterms in 2014 and 20% more than the presidential elections in 2016.
For the TV station group, third-quarter political advertising results hit $70 million, with expectations from the company to see $250 million to $253 million for the full year.
Sinclair originally offered guidance of $160 million.
Barton Crockett, media analyst at B. Riley FBR, writes: “While political strength, by now, is not surprising, and in the past might have been seen as a ‘buy the rumor, sell the news -- every-other-year roller coaster -- this year, we see it as more meaningful.”
He adds that at a time when the impact of local TV is questioned, this “rebuts a concern that spiked post-Trump in 2016. Political ads would be supplanted by social-media self-promotion. Trump, in that regard, now clearly appears to have been an outlier.”
Total Sinclair revenues rose 19% to $766 million in the period -- higher than analysts estimated. Net income doubled to $65 million from $32.6 million a year ago, which included $18 million in fee costs related to the terminated Tribune acquisition.
For the fourth-quarter period, Sinclair sees media revenues rising 20.5% to 22.2% higher over the year-ago period, $835 million to $847 million, and non-media revenues at $35 million from $19 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Early Wednesday morning stock trading of Sinclair was up 2.4% to $31.30.