When television group Sinclair released revised expectations for Q3 2008 back on 9/22/08, it was expecting it to be flat with the same quarter in 2007. The company is now out with preliminary calculations, which compared to its earlier guestimate would upgrade the results to the good side of flattish. Net broadcast revenues for Q3 2007 came in at $149.4M. Sinclair expected that $8M in political revenue would help get it to that number. As it turns out, it pulled in $8.7M in political and the extra $700K can be added directly to the net revenue total, propelling it to $150.1M.
The finalized report and discussion thereof will take place as scheduled on 11/5/08. The dog and pony show part will be bright and early, at 8:30AM Eastern.
Breaking even or edging ahead of even will not be so easy to pull off in the Q4, however. President/CEO David Smith is expecting a downturn in Q4 comparables in the middle-to-high single digits. On the plus side, it expects to be able to bank a tax refund of $17.2M during the last three months of 2008.
Smith blamed the economy and spelled out the group’s stock maneuvers during Q3. "The deepening economic turmoil that has recently thrown the financial markets into a state of crisis, diminished equity market values, dried up liquidity, and slowed advertising spending levels, has caused us to reconsider our value opportunities,” he said. “During the third quarter, we repurchased in the open market 2.7 million shares of our class A common stock, $22.3 million face value of our 8% senior subordinated notes and $12.0 million face value of our 6% subordinated convertible bonds."
RBR/TVBR observation: We’re sure it hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that flat is not good when discussing the two-year roller coaster that typifies television revenue results. Election years are supposed to be up – both Q3 and even Q4, which has just a little over a month of political spending, but the most intense month. If Q3 is flat and Q4 is down, that’s ugly.