Gray Television reported $169.5 million in revenue for the fourth quarter, a 5% decrease from Q4 2014’s $177.9 million. However, for full year 2015 Gray saw an 18% increase in total revenue, collecting a record $597.4 million.
Quarter to quarter, Gray’s retransmission consent revenue rose 84% to $39.5 million. Although political advertising revenue dropped 81% to $9.2 million in a non-election year, local advertising improved 15% to $87.1 million and national advertising climbed 14% to $23.5 million. Internet advertising revenue was flat at $7.5 million.
Gray’s retrans revenue for the full year 2015 was a record $152 million.
Gray acquired seven additional TV stations and four new markets between July and December 2015. On a combined historical basis, including only those stations owned in Q4 2015, total revenue dropped 12% quarter to quarter.
Based on history, Gray expects to see massive amounts of political spending late August through election day and a record year for itself and others in the business. And that’s regardless of the nominees. Gray execs noted that one thing about Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner who relies more on earned media than paid, is that he doesn’t like to lose. So if he were to win the nomination, they expect to still see the usual great amount of spending.