Newport Television is privately owned and its bonds are held by a small group of institutional investors, so we don’t get a whole lot of public information about the company. However, high-yield bond analysts Bishop Cheen and Davis Hebert provided some insight in a recent research piece covering a wide group of media companies.
They wrote that Newport’s Q3 revenues were in line with expectations at $70.6 million – down 5% from political ad-fueled Q3 of 2010. “The incremental absence of $7.5 million political was offset by 54% higher retransmission consent revenue,” the analysts noted. “Overall, there was a 1.5% decrease in core ad revenue with local down 1.3% and national down 1.8%. Auto was flat year-over-year in Q3.” EBITDA was $20.9 million, which beat the $18.2 million estimate of Cheen and Hebert, as operating expenses declined 2.3%.
“Q4 core ad revenue is pacing up 4.1% with auto pacing better than the core,” the analysts told clients. “Still, we think it will be tough for Newport to replace $22.4 million of political revenue it achieved in Q4 2010. Retrans, however, continues to grow at better than a 50% year-over-year due to new contracts put in place at the beginning of 2011. Retrans revenue was $8.6 million in Q3 and should be slightly higher in Q4.”
Newport TV was formed in 2008 by Providence Equity to purchase Clear Channel’s TV group for $1 billion. Newport owns and operates 32 TV stations plus 18 digital multicast channels in 22 markets across the US.