Net broadcast revenues were $147.9 million for the quarter, an increase of 12.7% vs. $131.3 million in Q1 ‘09. Sinclair’s operating income was $46.2 million in the quarter, as compared to an operating loss of $106.7 million in the prior year period, which included $130.1 million non-cash impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets. Sinclair reported diluted earnings per common share of $0.14 in Q1 vs. a diluted loss per common share of $1.06 in the prior year period.
“Television advertising continues to improve with many categories growing year-over-year,” commented David Smith, President and CEO of Sinclair. “The automotive category showed the largest growth, increasing 35.6% in the first quarter as compared to the same period last year. This was a stronger performance than the approximate 20% growth we estimated. Of our top 10 categories, which represented approximately 77% of our time sales, only telecommunications and paid programming were down. For the second quarter, we continue to see strong growth as both the majority of our advertising categories pace positive and the number of new advertisers increases.”
More detail from the quarter:
•Political revenues were $1.5 million in Q1 2010 versus $0.3 million in first quarter 2009.
•Local net broadcast revenues, which include local time sales, retransmission revenues, and other local broadcast revenues, were up 14.1% while national was up 8.2% versus Q1 2009. Excluding political revenues, local net broadcast revenues were up 13.9% and national net broadcast revenues were up 5.2% in the quarter.
•Eight of their Top 10 ad revenue categories were up in the quarter, including schools, medical, grocery and home products. Paid programming and telecommunications advertising revenues were down for the quarter.
•The company’s outsourcing agreements on WYZZ-TV in Peoria, IL and WUHF-TV in Rochester, NY with Nexstar Broadcasting, which were scheduled to terminate April 1, 2010, were renewed until December 31, 2013.
•Sinclair entered into an agreement to multicast THECOOLTV, a 24-hour music television network, in 34 of its markets.
•The Company entered into a one-year extension of its retransmission agreement with Mediacom Communications to expire on December 31, 2010.
•The Company’s affiliation agreements for its nine ABC stations were renewed to August 31, 2015.
Sinclair expects Q2 station net broadcast revenues from continuing operations, before barter, to grow by approximately 20% as compared to Q2 2009 station net broadcast revenues of $133.0 million. This assumes $3.1 million in political revenues as compared to $0.7 million in Q2 2009.