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Advertising revenues have been rebounding for local television groups as more and more states reopen and COVID-19 restrictions ease. The first quarter brought growth, but that is apparently just the beginning.
The E.W. Scripps Co., for one, is signaling Wall Street that even more robust growth is ahead after beating expectations for the first quarter. “Businesses have reopened, mask mandates are loosening and vaccine rates are rising,” said Scripps President-CEO Adam Symson in the company’s quarterly conference with Wall Street analysts. “Americans are coming out of their homes, their wallets a little fatter with federal stimulus dollars, and advertisers are competing to capture them.”
“We expect total Local Media revenue for the second quarter to be up in the high-teens percent range,” CFO Jason Combs told analysts. “That includes core ad revenue up in the mid-40% range.” For the Scripps’ Networks division — the former Ion operation, Katz Networks and Newsy — revenues are expected to be up about 20%.
Nexstar Media Group CEO Perry Sook told analysts in his quarterly earnings call, “Looking ahead, we’re encouraged by the overall acceleration in economic activity and the improved trajectory of ad spending across our footprint as market conditions continue to improve.”
Sook said all ad-supported revenue for the month of April was up 62%. For broadcast alone, including political, the gain was 73%. “So, if I extrapolate that to 2019, we get into the low single digits down,” he said of second quarter pacings.
Also looking at the current quarter, Sinclair