Hot politics bring blue skies to Gray Television


Gray TelevisionA television station portfolio that includes a presence in the recall election capital of the world – Wisconsin – has put Gray Television in the enviable position of revising its Q2 guidance upward.
Gray says its exceeding the high end of its earlier guidance by as much as 9%. Its prelimary operating revenue total for Q2 is up 24% to $94.691M; and Gray is expecting a mammoth 467% gain in political income to $13.138M.

The political category has put so much pressure on inventory that guidance for standard local and national income has had to be revised downward.

“We attribute the increase in political net revenue primarily to political advertising associated with the special gubernatorial election in Wisconsin; a state where we operate three television stations.”

The flip side is that anticipated local revenue is now expected to be up 1% instead of 3%-4%, and national us expected to be up 7% as opposed to about 10%.

“The slight downward revision to our expectations of second quarter 2012 local and national revenue, excluding political advertising revenue, reflects, in part, the significant demand from political advertisers placed upon our available commercial advertising inventory.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Close observers of this space may have noticed that this reporter gets local television news from Gray’s very own NBC WITN in the Greenville-New Bern DMA. We can tell you that WITN is raking in a hefty piece of change as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney duke it out here in North Carolina, months before general election ballots will be cast.

This of course exposes the ugly underbelly of the political category – it’s great, but some of it merely replaces business you would have had anyway, at the expense of possibly alienating regular customers. So handle the political category and your 24/7 clients with as much care as possible.