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Report: O&Os Big Beneficiaries of '10 Political Cash

With an abundance of stations in what look to be hotly-contested
political markets, station groups such as Meredith, McGraw-Hill and the
network-owned groups look best poised to grab political advertising this year,
according to investment bank M.C. Alcamo & Co.

It's been estimated that as much as $3 billion in political
advertising will be spent this year, aided by the Supreme Court's landmark
"Citizens United" ruling last week that lifts limits on spending from
corporations and unions.

M.C. Alcamo reviewed House, Senate and gubernatorial
elections for close contests, and mapped them against the DMA landscape. It
reports that 75% of McGraw-Hill's four stations are in markets featuring
"toss-up" races, followed by 64% at Meredith, 62% at CBS and 60% at both the
ABC and NBC owned station groups. Gannett's "toss-up" rate is 58%, and the
Fox-owned group comes in at 52%.

"While all
broadcasters will benefit in the 2010 political cycle, certain groups in key
markets will do exceptionally well," said M.C. Alcamo President Michael Alcamo.
"After Citizens
, this will be a
highly-caffeinated political season."

At the other end of the spectrum are Nexstar (14%), Sinclair
(19%) and Cox (27%), Alcamo
deducing that those groups' stations are in markets where the elections will
not be as hotly contested.

The windfall
comes at a good time for broadcasters. "In 2010, political advertising
will yield a significant bump in revenue and profitability in key
markets," said Alcamo.
"Now that operating costs have been tightly controlled through the
aggressive cost reductions achieved in 2009, incremental high-margin revenue
will bring an important boost to the industry, allowing broadcasters to pay
down debt, increase dividends, or make acquisitions."

Michael Malone
Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.