Q4 Political Ads Help Bottom Lines At TV Stations

The media recovery is still slow in materializing, if newly released industry results are any indication.

Political advertising helped boost the fortunes at Sinclair Broadcast Group, which said fourth-quarter revenue rose 5 percent to $188.1 million. The Baltimore-based owner of the largest group of U.S. TV stations, however, said it lost $5.09 million, or 6 cents a share, because of a write-down on the value of one of its markets.

Similarly, Belo Corp. cited political advertising as the primary reason for its 26 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit, offsetting continued weakness at the company’s flagship Dallas Morning News. Belo reported net income of $53.5 million, or 46 cents a share.

Also last week, Dow Jones & Co. said January ad linage fell 5.2 percent at The Wall Street Journal, with its two largest categories showing substantial drops: financial advertising slid 15.2 percent and technology dropped 18.4 percent. Two weeks ago, Dow Jones reported flat earnings per share of 43 cents on a 3.9 percent increase in revenue to $437.2 million.