Earnings: Sinclair Projects Retrans Riches

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Sinclair CEO David Smith estimates that retransmission consent revenues will be about $59 million, or a 132% increase over $25.4 million for 2006.

Sinclair has vowed to get full value for its signals, and demonstrated that hard line in tough negotiations with Mediacom. It has also struck deals with Comcast and Charter.

Smith's estimate came as Sinclair Broadcast Group announced net broadcast revenues from continuing operations of $150.2 million for the first quarter, up 1.5% from the same quarter last year.

Operating income was $37.3 million for Q1, compared to $35.4 million last year, an increase of 5.6%. Sinclair also had a net loss of $2.4 million for the quarter, compared to net income of $10 million in the first quarter of 2006.

Smith said the retransmission consent deals offset weakness in automotive spending and Sinclair’s MyNetworkTV stations. The MNT outlets were down 14.3% in time sales, while Sinclair’s Fox stations were up 8.5% for the quarter.

“We have made significant progress on our retransmission consent agreements and now have over 80% of the multi-channel video programming distributor subscribers in our markets under long term contracts,” said Smith. --John Eggerton contriburted to this report.

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