Gray Television reported first quarter revenues of $70.5 million, up 15% from the revenue it announced in the first quarter of last year. Gray said the number exceeded its initial expectations.
"We experienced improvements in our core local and national advertising revenue as well as other major revenue categories in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the first quarter of 2009," said Gray in a statement. "We believe we are well positioned to benefit from expected increases in political advertising in 2010. While our revenues have increased, we continue to focus on controlling our operating costs."
Gray's local advertising revenue was up 11% in the quarter, national advertising climbed 8%, and Internet ad revenue was up 20%.
Political advertising increased 176% to $2.8 million, and retransmission consent revenue increased 27% to $4.6 million.
Consulting revenue from an agreement with Young Broadcasting, Inc. was $0.6 million in the first quarter of 2010. Gray recently commenced managing seven of the 10 Young stations after a bankruptcy judge ruled on Young's reorganization plan. Gray continued to be paid the consulting revenue as it waited for the judge to rule.
Gray said automotive advertising was up 43% in the quarter, compared to the same quarter last year.
Atlanta-based Gray envisions more modest gains in the second quarter. "Based on our current forecast, we currently believe our second quarter of 2010 local revenue, excluding political revenue, will increase from the three months ended June 30 by approximately 6%," it said in a statement. "We currently believe our second quarter of 2010 national revenue, excluding political revenue, will increase from the second quarter of 2009 by approximately 6%."
Gray operates 36 stations in 30 markets.