LIN TV reported that Q1 revenues rose 23% to $91.8 million, with advertising demand up sharply, and not just political. Look for another strong quarter in Q2, which is pacing up 20-26%.
“As the US economy continues its recovery, advertisers are investing their marketing budgets in TV. Significantly increased demand for TV ad time, coupled with the growth of our digital business, has led to a strong start in 2010,” said LIN CEO Vince Sadusky.
Automotive was a big growth driver. LIN reported that automotive advertising jumped 54% in Q1 to $19.3 million. But most other categories were also up. Core spot sales, local and national combined (but excluding political), rose 17% to $84.3 million. Political increased by $2.9 million to $3.4 million from only $500K a year earlier.
Retransmission consent fees increased 16% in Q1, while Internet advertising and other interactive revenues shot up 151%, including incremental revenues from the acquisition of RMM in October 2009. In all, digital revenues increased 47% to #13.2 million.
EBITDA for Q1 jumped 141% in Q1 to $26 million. Broadcast cash flow was $30.5 million, nearly double the $15.2 million of Q1 2009.
According to Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker, LIN’s Q1 results were in line with expectations, but the Q2 guidance beat her estimates, despite higher operating expenses. The company is guiding to 20-26% revenue gains, vs. just under 20% for the Street average. Even with higher expenses, she now estimates Q2 EBITDA at $30.6-32.5 million. Ryvicker had previously been looking for $30.5 million.