Gray Television announced fourth quarter revenue of $95.6 million, down 25% from the same quarter the year before, but a record for a fourth quarter in an off political year, said the broadcaster. Gray’s fourth quarter broadcast cash flow was $36.8 million. Its full year revenue was $346.3 million.
Local advertising revenue increased 13%, while national advertising revenue increased 7%. Internet advertising revenue climbed 6% in the quarter and retransmission consent revenue jumped 35%.
Gray’s political advertising revenue decreased $41.5 million, or 96%, in the quarter, resulting in the year-over-year decrease. Gray suggested “it may be more appropriate to compare results from either the on year or the off year of the two-year political advertising cycle to the prior similar period,” and noted a 13% revenue gain compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.
"Our results reflect our continued commitment to owning and/or operating top stations in our local markets, and to leveraging the benefits of our operational excellence in order to deliver value to our stockholders,” said Hilton Howell Jr. (pictured), Gray president and CEO. “We also entered into a number of significant transactions in 2013, and we continue to work toward completing the successful acquisition and integration of these operations, which we believe will further strengthen our company."
On October 31, 2013, Gray and Excalibur Broadcasting completed transactions for stations in markets that include Grand Junction, Colo.; Cheyenne, Wyo. and Laredo, Texas. The operating results of the acquired stations are included in Gray's fourth quarter earnings.
Gray forecasts a 16-18% increase in first quarter operating revenue, with local advertising up 10% and national up 2%.