Gray Television reported higher fourth-quarter profits as a rush of political advertising boosted revenue.
Net income rose to $211 million, or $2.22 per share, compared to $81 million, or 81 cents a share a year ago.
Revenue rose 38% to $763 million, with political ad revenue in the quarter hitting $245 million, compared to $38 million a year ago. For the full year, political advertising was $430 million.
Gray agreed to acquire Quincy Media for $925 million in cash in March. Gray said the transaction will be accretive to cash flow and that it will have year-one synergies of about $23 million
Local and national broadcast revenue excluding political revenue dropped 8% in the fourth quarter from a year ago. The company attributed the drop to political ads squeezing out traditional advertisers in a large number of markets.
Gray said core ad revenue was down 2% in December, after a 1% drop in November and 22% in October.
Retransmission consent revenue rose 11% to $217 million.
“Despite the impact of the novel Coronavirus and its disease (collectively, “COVID-19”) on economic activity, our strong political revenues, prudent cost management, strategic sales initiatives and training, and focused management at every level during the last three quarters of 2020, and especially the fourth quarter of 2020, resulted in record operating results for the fourth quarter and the full-year,” the company said.
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