Sinclair Broadcast Group reported third quarter net revenues of $303 million, up 34.7% from the same quarter a year before. Sinclair has been in acquisition mode for years; on a same station basis, the broadcaster's revenue, excluding political revenue, increased 11%.
David Smith, president and CEO, said Sinclair aims to continue growing. "We are pleased with our solid third quarter results and expect to continue to grow our revenue share and provide additional value to our shareholders through our station acquisitions and the synergies and efficiencies of scale that we are creating as we continue to consolidate," he said. "Including all pending station acquisitions, we are the largest and one of the most diversified TV broadcasters in the country and have been the most active TV broadcasting consolidator with over $3 billion in assets purchased and announced.
"Television continues to be the preferred medium for advertisers and consumers top choice for news and entertainment," Smith continued. "As we look ahead, we are beginning to assess other possible avenues for growth after the industry consolidates, including enhancing our original content offerings and distribution, the pursuit of strategic partnerships and monetizing spectrum holdings, all with the intent of creating additional value for our shareholders."
Local net broadcast revenues, which include local time sales, retransmission revenues, and other broadcast revenues, were up 53.3%, while national net broadcast revenues were down 7% versus the third quarter of 2012.
On August 8, 2013, Sinclair closed on its purchase of Fisher Communications for $373.2 million. In September, it agreed to acquire the eight stations owned by New Age Media for $90 million. On September 30, Sinclair closed on its acquisition of the Sioux City, IA television stations owned by TTBG, LLC, and closed on the Fresno/Visalia, CA and Omaha, NE stations on October 1, 2013 for a total of $115.35 million.
Sinclair expects net broadcast revenues to be up 28.2% to 29.6% in the fourth quarter.
"We expect to see continued growth in core local and national advertising," said David Amy, executive VP and CFO. "While we expect our political revenues to benefit from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the uncertainty surrounding the government's computer enrollment issues has resulted in slower than expected state spending on related advertising. Advertising in the automotive sector, however, continues to be robust."
Sinclair forecasts fourth quarter net revenues of $116.7 million related to acquisitions.