Sinclair Broadcast Group reported total revenue of $611.8 million for the fourth quarter, just a 0.3% decrease from the $613.8 million it earned in Q4 2014.
The company attributes the flat revenue to the 85% decrease in political ad revenue; it collected $80.3 million of political revenue in Q4 2014, an election year, versus $11.8 million in Q4 2015. However, Sinclair saw a 33.1% boost in fourth quarter digital offerings.
Operating income was down 40.5% to $124.2 million from $208.9 million in 2014’s fourth quarter. The company’s net income was $58.2 million, a 39% drop from the $95.4 million in the prior year period.
For the full year, Sinclair announced $2.2 billion in revenue, a 12.3% increase from 2014’s $2.0 billion.
Sinclair expects to rebound in the first quarter in 2016, with expected revenues in the range of $515.6 to $520.7 million, a 10.9 to 12.0% increase from the previous year’s quarter. That includes an anticipated $16 to $18 million in political revenues; it collected $2 million in Q1 2015.
“We expect 2016 to be another record-breaking financial year due to expected significant political advertising spending in the Presidential election year, growth in our digital sales offerings, and higher retransmission revenues on 60% subscriber renewals, of which we have already entered into agreements-in-principle on most,” said David Amy, executive VP and chief operating officer. “Our operating focus in 2016 will be on launching Circa, securing approval for the Next Generation Broadcast Platform (ATSC 3.0), expanding our network distribution platforms and monetizing our digital content management system.”