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LIN TV Beats the Street

PROVIDENCE, R.I.: Shares of LIN TV jumped this morning on the announcement of strong fourth-quarter results. LIN reported net revenues of $125.1 million, up 24 percent over 4Q09. Net income was $21 million versus $10.7 million a year earlier. Shares of LIN (NYSE: TVL) shot up 6 percent this morning, gaining more than 30 cents from yesterday’s close to $5.34 within the first hour of trading.

The revenue mark exceeded analysts expectations of around $122 million, and LIN’s own guidance of between $117 million and $123.5 million.

Digital revenues, which include Internet advertising and retransmission feeds, increased 28 percent to $17.1 million. Political revenues were up by $19.9 million to $28.2 million. Core local and national ad revenues, excluding political, increased 4 percent year-over-year to $92.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. Nine of LIN’s 15 top ad categories rose in 4Q10. Auto, representing 23 percent of local and national ad sales, increased 10 percent for the quarter and 34 percent for the year.

Full-year revenues increased 24 percent over 2009 to $420 million. Digital revenues were up 42 percent to $60.9 million. Political was up by $36.2 million to $49.4 million. Full-year net income was $36.5 million versus $9.1 million.

Fourth-quarter net income per diluted share was 37 cents versus 21 cents a year earlier. Full-year net income per diluted share was 66 cents versus 18 cents in 2009.

LIN loaded on local programming last year, adding 1,400 hours more of local programming in 2010 compared to 2009. Local lifestyle programs were added in five markets, bringing the franchise total to nine.

LIN ended 2010 with total debt outstanding of $623.3 million, compared to $683 million a year earlier. Unrestricted cash and cash equivalents totaled $11.6 million at the end of 2010 compared to $11.1 million a year earlier.

For the first quarter of 2011, LIN said it expected revenues of $90.6 million to $91.8 million, versus analysts’ expectations of $92.4 million. Wells Fargo analysts noted that LIN had $1.8 million in Olympics revenue last year that will not be repeated during the 1Q11, and Super Bowl revenue is expected to be down by around $250,000.

LIN owns and/or operates 32 TV station sin 17 markets.
-- Deborah D. McAdams