Gray Television reported a loss in the third quarter as revenue was flat in a non-election year.
Gray’s net loss was $30 million, or 32 cents a share, compared to net income of $109 million, or $1.14 a share, a year ago. The company said the loss was the result of having to divest stations in overlap markets following its acquisitions. The company has also incurred $11 million in transaction related expenses.
Gray acquired Quincy Media in August and is in the process of acquiring Meredith Corp.’s local media group.
Gray sold stations in seven markets to Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group for $398 million in August as part of the Quincy deal. To facilitate the Meredith deal, it sold WJRT-TV, Flint, Michigan, to Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group for $72 million in September.
Revenue was flat at $601 million. Broadcast revenue was down 2% to $581 million and revenue from Gray’s production companies was up 82% to $20 million.
Core advertising revenue--excluding political ad revenue was $292 million, up 23% from last year and 7% from 2019, the last non-political and pre-pandemic year. Political ad revenue was $9 million, down from $128 million a year ago.
Retransmission consent revenue was $266 million, up 23% from a year ago.
Gray said it expected local revenue to increase by 8% to 9% in the fourth quarter and national revenue to increase 10% to 13%. It forecasts retransmission revenue increasing by 20% to 21%. Total broadcast revenue will be down 21% to 22% with political advertising down 95% to 96%.
“We experienced strong momentum in the first nine months of 2021 and we believe it will continue throughout the remainder of the year,” the company said.
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