Gray Television today announced (PDF) total revenue for its fourth quarter reached $237.6 million, up 40% from the year-ago quarter.
Like many other broadcasters who’ve already reported, Gray’s results were propelled by increases in political ad spending during the fourth quarter. Gray’s political revenue hit $48.5 million for the quarter, which the company said tied a record from the fourth quarter of 2014. As a result, quarterly net income jumped a whopping 139% to $35.8 million.
“We began 2016 with the successful acquisition of the Schurz television stations. Today we are pleased to announce that we continued to grow throughout 2016, setting all-time records for total revenue, political revenue, net income and Broadcast Cash Flow. We are pleased to have reached these milestones in 2016 despite a most unexpected and challenging political season that affected both our company and our entire industry. We believe we are positioned for continued success in 2017 and beyond,” said Hilton H. Howell, Jr., Gray’s chairman and CEO, in a statement.
For the full year, Gray’s total revenue increased 36% to $812.5 million and net income increased 58% to $62.3 million.
While political advertising drove much of Gray’s revenue growth, the broadcast group managed to grow revenue during the quarter in several other segments as well. Local advertising revenue grew 13% to $107.1 million, national advertising revenue grew 5% to $24.8 million, political advertising revenue grew 427% to $48.5 million and retransmission consent revenue grew 32% to $52.0 million.
Gray’s fourth-quarter earnings followed shortly after the company announced it was picking up two more stations for $85 million. Gray will be getting CBS affiliate WABI in Bangor, Maine, and ABC affiliate WCJB in Gainesville, Florida.
“We are honored to be selected by Diversified as the new owners of legacy stations WABI and WCJB,” said Howell. “Both stations are highly valued institutions in their respective communities with dedicated employees who share our vision and culture. We look forward to building upon these strong foundations and enviable records of success.”