Sinclair Broadcast Group reported fourth quarter revenues of $613.8 million, an increase of 43.5% over the same quarter in the previous year. Net broadcast revenues increased 45.6% to $556.6 million in the quarter. Operating income was $208.9 million, an increase of 102.4%.
Acquisitions paced the outsized numbers.
"We are excited to report record-breaking results for our key financial metrics for 2014," commented David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair, "driven by growth from our acquisitions, political advertising, retransmission consent fees and our digital platform. From that, we returned $194 million to our shareholders in the form of opportunistic share buybacks and dividends, which we increased 10% during the year."
“Looking ahead to 2015, our focus will continue to be on expanding our original content offerings, developing our distribution platforms, and driving audience share,” he added.
Digital revenue grew 70.7% in the quarter. Excluding political revenues, net broadcast revenues increased 26.8% versus the fourth quarter of 2013.
Sinclair’s nearly $1 billion Allbritton acquisition closed August 1, 2014. On Nov. 1, Sinclair closed on its New Age Media acquisition as well as on KSNV Las Vegas. On Dec. 19, the company closed on the acquisition of four stations from Media General and the sale of three to Media General.
"We feel optimistic going into 2015 with first quarter core advertising revenues pacing flat to slightly up when excluding Super Bowl, Olympic and incremental political revenues," commented David Amy, executive VP and chief operating officer. "Transition of the stations acquired in 2014 has been nearly seamless.”