Sinclair Broadcast Group reported net broadcast revenues in the third quarter of $158.8 million, a 16.4% increase over the same quarter a year ago. Political revenue was nearly $10 million. Local broadcast revenues were up almost 12%, and national ad revenues up 30%.
"Political advertising came in higher than expected and that trend has continued in the fourth quarter where we expect $26.8 million in political revenues," commented Sinclair President/CEO David Smith. "For the year, political revenues are expected to be approximately $41.9 million, a record amount for us. This would represent a 34.7% increase over 2006's $31.1 million in political revenues and a 1.9% increase over the 2008 presidential year's $41.1 million."
Sinclair expects fourth quarter station revenue to be between $181.5 million and $185.5 million, which would be an 18%-20.6% gain over the fourth quarter of 2009.
"The fourth quarter is expected to provide a record year for us in terms of political revenues, which is significant given that this year was a non-presidential election year," commented EVP/CFO David Amy. "With that kind of demand on our inventory, we experienced some crowding out of our normal advertisers in October, which is to be expected. In addition, on a year-over-year comparison basis, fourth quarter of 2009 is when we saw that the advertising recession bottomed out and business began to improve, and so we are expecting a smaller percentage growth rate in fourth quarter of this year than in prior quarters of this year. This is not a reflection or implication that advertising spending has slowed."
Smith said the momentum should carry into 2011. "Early indications are that the core business will be stronger than normal non-political years driven by the Super Bowl on the Fox network, of which we have 20 affiliates, and the continued economic recovery," Smith said. "We believe that the core business in 2011 will grow versus 2010."