Gray Television reported first quarter revenue of $80.7 million, 16% higher than its first quarter of 2011, and outpacing most of its peers. The increase was mostly due to a record increase in political advertising revenue, along with growth in retransmission consent cash.
"A significant portion of our retransmission consent contracts expired on December 31, 2011, and we were able to renew substantially all of these contracts under terms more favorable to Gray," said the company in a statement.
Local (5%) and internet advertising (34%) also grew in the quarter, while national advertising was flat. Online page views grew 40% year over year, which Gray attributes to "increased posting of local content and public awareness of our websites resulting from our on-air promotion of our websites."
Gray said it continues to earn consulting revenue under its agreement with Young Broadcasting; it gets $2.2 million a year to consult on the Young stations.
The broadcaster anticipates revenue growth in the 13-14% range for second quarter.
Gray operates 36 television stations serving 30 markets.
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