PROVIDENCE, R.I.: LIN TV beat analysts estimates for the third quarter but low-balled No. 4. LIN’s 3Q10 net revenues increased 27 percent to $103.6 million. Analysts’ consensus for 3Q10 revenues was $101.4 million, Reuters said. For the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2010, LIN pulled in a profit of 15 cents a diluted share compared to a 2 cent loss during 3Q09.
Digital revenues, which include Internet revenues and retransmission consent fees, increased by 54 percent to $16 million. Political revenues increased by $9.5 million to $12.5 million. Operating income increased by 95 percent to $26.8 million.
“We delivered strong third quarter results, despite a late start to the political season and continued economic uncertainty,” said LIN chief Vince Sadusky. “Our digital business grew more than 50 percent in both revenue and user engagement compared to prior year, and continues to be a significant source of growth and opportunity.”
Core local and national advertising combined, excluding political, increased 13 percent to $85.1 million. Ad categories that grew included automotive, financial services, and communications. Automotive, LIN’s top category with 24 percent of core ad sales for the quarter, increased by 41 percent to $20.6 million,
Retransmission consent fees increased 4 percent due to contractual rate increases in per-subscriber fees, and an increase in subscriber levels compared to last year.
LIN said its mobile impressions, including its iPhone, Blackberry and Android app, totaled nearly 56 million for the quarter.
Total debt outstanding at Sept. 30, 2010 was $641.3 million compared to $683 million Dec. 31, 2009. Unrestricted cash and cash equivalent balances were $8.8 million compared to $11.1 million. LIN’s outstanding revolving credit facility balance was $13.1 million compared to $204 million, with $63 million available for borrowing under that facility. Consolidated leverage was 5.1x compared to 7.6x.
LIN issued 4Q10 guidance below analysts’ estimates. LIN said 4Q10 net revenues would grow from 16 to 22 percent; from $117.5 million to $123.5 million. Reuters said analysts pegged LIN’s 4Q10 revenues at $128.05 million. LIN (NYSE: TVL) shares dipped briefly yesterday to $4.30 before closing at $4.47.
-- Deborah D. McAdams
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