Sinclair's first quarter net revenue was $252.9 million, an increase of 32.5% versus the prior year period result. The rapidly growing broadcaster had an operating income of $63.7 million in the three-month period, as compared to $59.9 million in the prior year period.
"2013 is off to a solid start with $2.5 million of incremental Super Bowl revenues in the first quarter, increased ad spending by our largest advertising category of automotive, and a very good February ratings book that highlighted the importance and popularity of local news," commented David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair. "The market for television stations remains robust, and we are pleased that we have been able to obtain quality assets at accretive prices."
Sinclair has been particularly bullish on acquisitions, shelling out close to $2 billion on deals since the fall of 2011. "We are excited the Barrington Broadcasting, Fisher Communications and certain of the Cox Media Group stations will soon be joining us," said Smith. "We intend to continue analyzing and evaluating opportunities to acquire additional television station assets towards creating greater scale for our operations and value for our shareholders."
Political revenues were $0.9 million in the first quarter, versus $3.6 million in the first quarter of 2012.
Local net broadcast revenues were up 32.8% in the first quarter, while national net broadcast revenues were up 31.5%. On a same station basis, excluding political revenues, local net broadcast revenues were up 7.1%, while national net broadcast revenues were down 1.4%, versus the first quarter of 2012.
As of April 1, Sinclair closed on the sale of WLWC Providence for $13.75 million. Also this month, Sinclair paid the last installment to Fox for its affiliation agreement entered into in May 2012 in the amount of $25 million.
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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.