Sinclair’s Q1 Income Up 27 Percent

May 3, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Sinclair Broadcast Group reported first-quarter net income of $11.2 million, up 27 percent from a year ago, as an increase in local advertising revenue offset decline in national advertising revenue due to the Winter Olympics.

Because only one of Sinclair’s 58 television stations carried NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics in February, the company wasn’t able to get a lift at the national advertising level from what other local station groups have reported was a healthy advertising market for stations that aired the games. But strength in local advertising helped erase most of the national advertising shortfall, with overall slipping to $163.5 million from $163.9 million a year ago.

Sinclair is having to grapple with the eventual shutdown of The WB and UPN-networks to which Sinclair has many stations linked. During the quarter, Sinclair said it struck affiliation agreements with MyNetworkTV for 17 stations and with The CW for nine. In addition, Sinclair said it renewed for six years its Fox affiliation for 19 stations.

The affiliation agreements with The CW and MyTV will likely result in stronger Sinclair revenues in the future. The company said it now expects an additional $10 million in net broadcast revenue on an annualized basis, of which $3.5 million could be realized this year. In January, Sinclair estimated that around $8 million in revenue was at risk as a result of the shutdown of The WB and UPN.

On the advertising front, local advertising climbed 7 percent, fueled by telecommunications, schools, fast food and retail. That increase helped overcome a decline in the automotive category, which represents 21 percent of Sinclair’s overall revenue. National advertising revenue fell 8 percent.