Sinclair Posts Strong Political Revenues, Digital Ads Rise

Sinclair Broadcast Group posted strong political revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018 with core advertising improving from earlier in the year, contributing to an overall 25% increase in revenue to $893 billion.

Political revenues were $149.6 million in the fourth quarter versus $15.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, a non-election year.

In an earnings phone call with analysts on Wednesday, Steven Marks, executive vp/chief operating officer of Sinclair said, "Despite the political crowd-out effect, the back half of 2018 outperformed better than the first half and the fourth quarter was the strongest of all quarters, with the core advertising down just over 3%."

Marks added: "Core advertising revenues in the first quarter [2019], excluding political, are expected to be flattish versus the same period last year."



Distribution revenues rose 11% to $334.1 million versus $299.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Total media revenues were up 23% to $848.9 million. Sinclair says digital revenues climbed 22.5%. Net income was $207.6 million versus net income of $444.8 million in the prior-year period, which included a $272 million non-recurring tax benefit.

Sinclair's stock on Wednesday morning was up 3% to $33.72.

Sinclair expects first-quarter revenues to sequentially decline from the fourth quarter -- between $667 million and $673 million in media revenues.

Political advertising is expected to pull in $2 million.

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