Sinclair Q4 Revenues Down 14%, Core Advertising Inches 2% Higher

Looking to get out from under its Diamond Sports Group financial issues, and with a bankruptcy settlement now behind it, investors of TV station group Sinclair pushed up its stock price over the last several days by 8% to $15.16 on Thursday. 

The previous day, Sinclair disclosed its 14% decline in fourth-quarter revenues to $826 million -- more or less in line with expectations.

Much of this is attributable to the overall advertising revenue decline of 28% to $363 million due to unfavorable comparisons to the strong political advertising season of the Q4 2022 period.

In somewhat better news, core advertising was stable -- up 2% to $339 million. Company executives say advertising will remain stable, as retail, services, and legal categories are pacing at strong levels.



On the downside, Sinclair sees automotive -- a critical TV station ad category -- to be flat, with media, pharmaceuticals and food brands showing modest declines. 

All this has the company seeing core advertising to be around $288 million to $295 million for the first quarter -- this includes unfavorable comparisons the sporting events including the Super Bowl.

With a major political TV advertising season still looking to ramp up, Sinclair says political revenue is expected to be greater than the $350 million recorded in 2020. 

The company reported a big $386 million loss which factored in a big $499 million payment to settle its Diamond Sports Group bankruptcy litigation claims.

Adjusted cash flow -- earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- was down 41% to $181 million.

Distribution revenue inched up 2% in the period to $422 million. A major retransmission renewal cycle for Sinclair is underway.

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