Excluding its much-maligned Diamond Sports Group from its fourth-quarter earnings results gave Sinclair Broadcast Group a net income of $55 million for the period -- reversing a loss in the same period a year before.
But overall, expected revenue at the TV station-based group only reached $960 million, down 35% compared to $1.5 billion over the same period a year ago.
In early Wednesday trading, the company's stock was pushed down 7% to $17.76.
Sinclair's solid net-income results benefited from strong mid-term fourth-quarter political advertising for its TV stations. A year ago, over the same period, the big TV station-based group posted a net loss of $89 million.
Excluding results from Diamond Sports Group -- its troubled regional sport networks unit that is close to a bankruptcy filing -- according to analysts, Sinclair’s revenue climbed 18%.
Overall advertising revenues climbed 31% from a year earlier, including Diamond Sports results. Excluding the sports business, it was 58% higher.
The major decline in Sinclair’s revenue resulted from a significant drop in distribution fees -- down to $415 million from $1.05 billion in the year-ago period. This was due to the “deconsolidation” of Diamond Sports in its financial release, which was effective March 1, 2022.
Including Diamond Sports results, Sinclair still posted a massive drop in distribution fees -- to $2.1 billion from $4.3 billion in the prior year period.
Diamond Sports has suffered due to TV providers -- including new virtual pay TV networks such as YouTube TV, Sling TV, and Hulu + Live TV -- rejecting deals to carry its regional sports networks as a result of thin profit margins.