Exceeding political advertising revenue estimates in anticipation of the upcoming midterm elections, Sinclair Broadcast Group advertising rose 7% in the first quarter to $282 million.
"Political advertising is off to a strong start,” says Chris Ripley, president and chief executive officer of Sinclair, in the company’s earning release, adding that it is “exceeding our expectations... We believe this is a good indicator of how strong this year's political cycle can be.”
Mid-day trading of Sinclair stock was up 3% to $24.07.
Leaving out political advertising, Sinclair's "core" advertising revenues, which excludes political revenues, slipped 4% to $354 million.
But total advertising at the company including from its Diamond Sports Group division pulled down overall results -- unchanged from the year before, to $371 million.
Diamond Sports Group, Sinclair's regional sports network group, witnessed 31% lower advertising during the period to $44 million. Distribution revenue was also down 38% to $433 million.
Sinclair says these financial results include just two months of the local sports segment for the first quarter of 2022 and three months for the first quarter of 2021.
The company says local sports has been "deconsolidated" as of March 1 from its financial statements and that total company revenues, as a result, dropped 15% to $1.5 billion.
In April, Sinclair struck a wide-ranging distribution agreement with Charter Communications for its local broadcast stations Tennis Channel, 19 Bally Sports RSN brands, Marquee Sports Network and the YES Network.
Sinclair’s regional sports networks have had difficulty in maintaining and expanding their distribution partners -- especially from newer virtual pay TV providers, such as YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV.
Sinclair projects political ad spend to be between $36 million and $45 million for its second-quarter period, with core advertising reaching $314 million to $322 million. Total advertising to be between $350 million and $367 million.
Sinclair says it will be launching the first commercial datacasting service later this year using the NextGen (ATSC 3.0) technology, which it says “will demonstrate the potential for broadcasters to grow beyond broadcast."