A 29 percent boost in retransmission revenue, to $4.8 million, helped lead Gray Television (NYSE: GTN) to nearly 50 percent more revenue in the fourth quarter than the same time last year. For the period, Gray posted revenues of $114.6 million, 48 percent more than the $77.5 million it earned a year ago.
Only political advertising, which increased 569 percent to $33.1 million in a key election year, rose at a faster pace than retransmission consent fees. As an example, local advertising was up only 5 percent; national advertising 2 percent and even the new Internet advertising space 21 percent.
In a news release, Gray said that the increased retrans fees are only the start as the new fiscal year begins: "We anticipate that our first quarter of 2011 retransmission consent revenue will increase approximately $0.3 million to $5.0 million."
Gray's--and other broadcasters' retrans forecasts--could be affected by an FCC effort to revise the rules which "should help cable and satellite operators ... by exerting some indirect pressure on broadcasters to moderate their license fee requests in upcoming retrans negotiations," MF Global analyst Paul Gallant wrote.
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