Sinclair Lightens Up on 4Q

BALTIMORE: Sinclair Broadcast Group today reported that it expects fourth-quarter net broadcast to be better than previously forecast.

Sinclair (NASDAQ: SBGI) said it now expects broadcast revenues for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2009, to be approximately $153.8 million, or only 6.5 percent lower than the same period a year earlier. That’s nearly half the decline SBGI predicted back in early November, when the company anticipated 4Q broadcast revenues between $143.3 million to $146.3 million, or down 11 to 12.8 percent compared to 4Q08.

“Advertising revenues from the auto sector has been a major driver of the revenue improvement due to increased spending by dealers and domestic manufacturers,” SBGI said in announcing its revised forecast. “The company now expects the auto category to be down by approximately 4 percent in the fourth quarter versus its prior estimate for auto to be down by high teen percents.”

SBGI also said affiliation agreements with ABC have been extended for nine of Sinclair’s stations while it continues to negotiate with the network for a long-term teal. The current agreements initially expired Dec. 31, 2009.

Final 4Q09 results will be published Feb. 17, 2010.

More on Sinclair:
November 4, 2009: Sinclair Beats Street
Third-quarter broadcast revenues for Sinclair were in line with analyst estimates at $136.4 million, down 9 percent from last year’s $150.1 million. Net broadcasting income was $14.9 million versus $10.2 million a year ago.