Sinclair Broadcast Loses $3.2 Billion in Third Quarter Amid Pandemic’s Impact on Sports Networks

November 5, 2020by Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun
Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Hunt Valley-based broadcaster, lost $3.2 billion for the July-to-September period as the company wrote off about $4.2 billion in goodwill and intangible assets. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun/TNS)

Sinclair Broadcast Group reported a massive loss for the quarter ended Sept. 30 due to charges related to its local sports segment during the coronavirus.

The Hunt Valley-based broadcaster lost $3.2 billion for the July-to-September period as the company wrote off about $4.2 billion in goodwill and intangible assets, the company announced Wednesday.

A year earlier, Sinclair lost $60 million. On a per share basis, the company lost $42.66 a share, compared with a 65 cent loss a year ago.

But excluding those adjustments, the TV station owner reported it would have earned $161 million.

Sinclair said its revenue jumped 37% to $1.5 billion compared with the third quarter of 2019. The gains were driven mostly by the company’s $10.6 billion acquisition in August 2019 of 21 regional sports networks and Fox College Sports from Disney and by higher political advertising revenue.

“Driven by stronger than expected political and sports advertising revenue, and stringent cost control measures during the pandemic, Sinclair’s results for the quarter, excluding the impairment, exceeded our expectations and guidance,” said Chris Ripley, Sinclair’s president and CEO.

Political revenues jumped to $109 million in the third quarter compared with $6 million in the third quarter of 2019 because of the presidential election. Advertising in the broadcast segment has continued to face challenges during the pandemic, but ad demand improved during the quarter, Ripley said. The pandemic also has led to a higher rate of subscription losses, he said.

But he noted that the company has several initiatives in the works to drive growth. Sinclair plans to launch a new sports app by the start of the spring baseball season and will unveil The National Desk, a new headline news service, early next year.

In addition, the broadcaster is continuing to roll out NEXTGEN TV, a new television broadcast technology, to about 45 markets by the end of next year. Other growth drivers include Sinclair’s free streaming platform STIRR and legalized sports betting opportunities, Ripley said.

In addition to the $4.2 billion charge, Sinclair’s operating loss included $13 million in non-recurring costs for transaction, COVID, legal, litigation, and regulatory expenses.

The losses were a result of a decline in distribution revenue brought on by a number of factors, including the recent loss of two distributors — YouTube and Hulu — that made up about 10% of September’s local sports distribution revenue. Sinclair also said it lost subscribers at elevated levels because of the economic climate, the pandemic and other uncertainties.

The losses have not impacted the company’s cash flow from operating activities or its debt covenants, the company said.

Wall Street analysts were expecting a loss of $3.12 per share, on an adjusted basis.

___

(c)2020 The Baltimore Sun

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Media

Voice of America Director Accused of Financial and Media Self-Dealing
In The News
Voice of America Director Accused of Financial and Media Self-Dealing
January 14, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The Trump-appointed chief executive who oversees Voice of America is facing an onslaught of crises only days before the president is scheduled to leave office. First, the attorney general of the District of Columbia last week sued U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael... Read More

DC's Top Federal Prosecutor Condemns Violence Against Journalists at Capitol Riot
Media
DC's Top Federal Prosecutor Condemns Violence Against Journalists at Capitol Riot
January 12, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The top federal prosecutor in Washington said Tuesday investigators are aware of multiple reports of reporters being assaulted and otherwise abused during last Wednesday's siege at the U.S. Capitol and vowed to bring the guilty parties to justice. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker said... Read More

Lincoln Project’s Ads in Palm Beach County Aimed at Vacationing, TV-watching Trump
Political News
Lincoln Project’s Ads in Palm Beach County Aimed at Vacationing, TV-watching Trump

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Lincoln Project, which spent much of the year trolling President Donald Trump with TV ads aimed directly at him, is deploying the tactic in South Florida. Starting Wednesday, if Trump turns on the TV at the two locations he’s spent time... Read More

Report: Gov't Spyware Targets Phones of Al-Jazeera Reporters
Media
Report: Gov't Spyware Targets Phones of Al-Jazeera Reporters

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dozens of journalists at Al-Jazeera, the Qatari state-owned media company, have been targeted by advanced spyware in an attack likely linked to the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a cybersecurity watchdog said Sunday. Citizen Lab at... Read More

Florida-based Elections Vendor Demands Conservative Media Retract Rigging Reports
Media
Florida-based Elections Vendor Demands Conservative Media Retract Rigging Reports

MIAMI — A global elections vendor founded in South Florida is threatening to sue Fox News and other conservative media outlets for defamation unless they prominently retract unfounded reports alleging a conspiracy to rig the 2020 vote against President Donald Trump. Smartmatic, which keeps its U.S.... Read More

Time Magazine Names Biden, Harris 2020 Person of the Year
Media
Time Magazine Names Biden, Harris 2020 Person of the Year
December 11, 2020
by Dan McCue

NEW YORK - Time magazine has named Joe Biden and Kamala Harris 2020's Person of the Year. The two made history on November 7 when they beat Donald Trump after an election marked by a surging public health crisis and an incumbent president who questioned the... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top