Revenue showed 15.3% growth in the first quarter among the major station groups, compared to the same quarter a year ago, reports the investment banking firm M.C. Alcamo & Co. Profit margins, meanwhile, jumped from 24% to 35% in the first quarter of 2010.
Leading the charge in revenue were Fisher Communications (24% growth), Nexstar Broadcast Group (24%) and LIN Media (23%), according to Alcamo, followed by Meredith and Washington Post Company, both at 20% growth in the first quarter.
"The Great Recovery of 2010 is underway, and in broadcasting, it is strong," said President Michael Alcamo. "Not all broadcasters are recovering equally, however. Some have already shown sharply higher profitability margins, while others will no doubt catch up in coming quarters."
Showing more modest revenue growth were Entravision (3.3%), Journal Communications (8.6%) and Sinclair Broadcast Group (9.6%). Added up, 14 major broadcasters boosted revenue 15.3% over the first quarter of 2009.
Alcamo sees continued good tidings for local television for the rest of 2010. "For the next three quarters, visibility for revenue and EBITDA growth is excellent," he says. "Earlier this year, after Citizens United vs. FEC, we predicted that political advertising in 2010 could exceed $3.25 billion, among local, state-wide, and national ‘issue' advertising. In the coming quarters, we expect that the approaching wave of political advertising--coupled with strengthened consumer categories--will drive the industry's revenue and EBITDA margins quite substantially."
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