LIN rocks double-digit Q1 gains


LIN MediaMost public television groups have been reporting strong results for Q1 2012, and LIN says it’s outperforming them. In addition to celebrating its recently-announced acquisition of New Vision Television, it can also celebrate a 15% gain in net revenues.

President/CEO Vincent L. Sadusky said: “2012 is off to a great start as a result of strong first quarter results and revenue increases in all areas of our business. We continue to see the benefits of our long term strategy and we are excited about the potential opportunity to capitalize on numerous synergies that would result from our agreement with New Vision Television.”

Commenting on the New Vision buy, Sadusky said it was a rare and exciting opportunity to expand holdings in new markets, particularly bolstering the south and far west. He added that the properties are well-run, and will be run even better as LIN applies its own capabilities to them.

LIN spotlighted the following results:

* Net revenues increased 15% to $103.2 million, compared to $89.7 million in the   first quarter of 2011.

* Local revenues, which include net local advertising revenues, retransmission consent fees and TV station web site revenues, increased 16% to $67.7 million, compared to $58.3 million in the first quarter of 2011.

* Net national revenues increased 4% to $23.1 million, compared to $22.3 million in the first quarter of 2011.

* Net political revenues were $2.9 million, compared to $1 million in the first quarter of 2011.

* Interactive revenues, which include revenues from RMM and Nami Media, increased 41% to $7 million, compared to $5 million in the first quarter of   2011.

* Operating income increased 31% to $20.5 million, compared to $15.7 million in the first quarter of 2011.

* Net income per diluted share was $0.08, compared to $0.03 in the first quarter of 2011.

Speaking to the political results, Sadusky noted that the LIN portfolio did not match up particularly well with the primary election schedule, and it is expecting political income to skyrocket once its stations come more into play. There will be no LMA in advance of closing with New Vision.

He also said another area that may provide an opportunity for improvement is retransmission consent – it has opportunities to bring fees for many stations better in line with their local popularity in the near future. Contract expirations are variable and the company avoided providing specific details. The company noted that a key to commanding a good fee is a dedication to providing strong local content.

Looking ahead, LIN said that it “…expects that net revenues for the second quarter of 2012 will increase in the range of 12% to 16% (or $12 million to $16 million), as compared to net revenues of $101 million in the second quarter of 2011.”

Fans of the automotive category may smile on LIN’s revelation that Q2 pacings are running 24% ahead of Q2 2011.

RBR-TVBR observation: The results we are seeing generally point to a vibrantly healthy broadcast television business. Incentive auctioneers take note: We suspect LIN did not buy New Vision for the purpose of shutting it down.