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Posts Tagged ‘David Smith’

WSJ: Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Sidecar Agreements Draw Scrutiny

sinclair logoThe Wall Street Journal takes a long look (subscription required) at Sinclair Broadcast Group’s continued expansion, specifically the use of sidecar agreements — which allow companies to manage stations it doesn’t own — as a way to bypass FCC ownership rules.

Sinclair says such agreements are vital in competing against the Web and other new suitors for viewer attention. “It’s necessary for survival because of the evolutionary nature of the competitive ad-selling marketplace,” says [David] Smith, Sinclair’s chief executive.

Opponents of media consolidation say broadcasters use sidecar agreements as loopholes that let them violate the spirit of FCC ownership rules, which the agency says promote “competition, localism and diversity.” When one owner manages multiple stations in a market, they say, it reduces local-news quality and variety, and drives up pay-TV bills.

The FCC allowed these agreements to help struggling stations reduce costs, not to help companies gain turf, says former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, a consolidation critic. “This is a shell game and an end run around the media-ownership rules.”

[...] The Columbus stations show how sidecar deals work. In the glass-encased lobby, side-by-side TV screens show programming from two of the stations. Fox and ABC news vans share the parking lot.  Read more

Sinclair Adds Eight New Age Stations to Broadcast Group

sinclair_304Sinclair Broadcasting has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to buy the broadcast assets of eight stations owned by New Age Media or to which New Age provides services for an aggregate price of $90 million.

Since the eight stations are in three markets: Wilkes-Barre-Scranton, PA, Tallahassee, FL, and Gainesville, FL, Sinclair said it plans to sell the license and “certain related assets” of two stations (WSWB and WTLH) in Wilkes-Barre-Scranton and one (WNBW) in Gainesville, FL, to Cunningham Broadcasting and the license of WTLF in Tallahassee to Deerfield Media. You can see the full list of the stations after the jump.

“We are excited to be adding the New Age stations to our portfolio, growing our presence in Pennsylvania and Florida, and further diversifying our affiliation mix,” David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair said in a statement. “Through each acquisition we continue to capture operating  efficiencies and scale, as well as increase our cash flow for ongoing opportunities.” Read more

Change in Federal Rules Could Impact Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Expansion

sinclair_304USA Today looks at how Sinclair Broadcast Group’s recent expansion has “fueled debate about enduring questions on concentration of media ownership and fresh attempts by federal regulators to scale back broadcasters’ ambitions.” When Sinclair’s pending acquisitions are completed, the company will be the largest broadcaster in terms of number of stations.

If federal regulators have their way, the industry’s big players, including Sinclair, could be forced to rein in their ambitions. Under current FCC rules, the reach of a broadcaster’s TV stations may not exceed 39% of U.S. households. But broadcasters have been allowed to count UHF stations as having only 50% of the reach of VHF stations. UHF signals didn’t cover as much ground when stations were still broadcasting in analog signals.

The prevalence of digital signals now makes the UHF-VHF distinction largely moot, and the FCC has plans to eliminate the UHF discount. “It’s most likely going away,” says Marci Ryvicker, a media analyst at Wells Fargo.”Sinclair is probably going to be impacted.”

If the discount is eliminated, Sinclair’s total U.S. household reach — if counting all 149 stations — will jump overnight to about 38.2%, bringing it awfully close to that 39% limit. With the discount, Sinclair’s reach would be about 22%. Read more

Q2 Earnings: Sinclair Net Broadcast Revenues Up 28%

Sinclair Broadcast Group reported $279.3 million in net broadcast revenues for the second quarter of 2013, a 28.4% increase on the year-ago quarter. The company had operating income of $84.3 million for the quarter, compared to $71.9 million in the second quarter of 2012.

Local net broadcast revenues, which includes local time sales, retransmission revenues and other broadcast revenues, were up 35.9% in the second quarter. National broadcast revenues were up 7%. Political revenues declined in the non-election year: the company reported $1.5 million this quarter, compared to $11.4 million for the year-ago quarter.

“The first half of 2013 has been very successful for the Company, not only with respect to the Company’s results but on growing our platform through additional acquisitions of broadcast assets, especially our most recently announced planned acquisitions of the Allbritton stations and their local news cable/satellite channel,” Sinclair president and CEO David Smith said in a statement. “…We are excited about the successes we have achieved and the additional value that we have created and anticipate creating for our shareholders.”

Sinclair CEO: ‘There is Significant Value’ in a National Rollout of NewsChannel 8

Sinclair Broadcast Group president and CEO David Smith says there is “significant value” in expanding NewsChannel 8, Allbritton’s regional cable channel in Washington, D.C., to other markets. Smith discussed the possibility this morning in remarks to investors, Broadcasting & Cable‘s Michael Malone reports:

“Because Allbritton has limited reach, the channel has yet to be fully developed outside the D.C. area,” Smith said. “We believe we have a distinct opportunity to accomplish that.”

Smith described NewsChannel 8 as a “launching point” for a national news channel, airing both within the Sinclair group and on MVPD systems for a “unique hybrid model.” Smith threw out a $300 million figure for incremental revenue garnered from the MVPDs for carriage, using CNN’s 57 cents a sub as a model.

“The takeaway is, we believe there is significant value we can unlock when we couple the cable channel with the rest of our news channels and roll it out to more than just D.C.,” said Smith.

In a statement announcing Sinclair’s acquisition of Allbritton’s eight stations, Smith said he was “especially excited” about the addition of NewsChannel8.

Sinclair to Buy Allbritton Stations for $985 Million

Sinclair Broadcasting has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to buy the stock of Perpetual Corporation and equity interest of Charleston Television, LLC, both owned by Allbritton for an aggregate purchase of $985 million.

Allbritton owns seven ABC affiliates including WJLA in Washington, D.C. and KATV in Little Rock, AR, as well as NewsChannel 8, a 24 hour cable news network covering Washington, D.C.

David Smith, the President and CEO of Sinclair, says he is “especially excited” about adding Albritton’s 24-hour news channel to Sinclair. “We are especially excited to acquire the NewsChannel 8 local news channel, not only for the content it can provide our existing news stations, but moreover because their regional cable presence provides the perfect platform should we decide to expand it into other markets, especially given the amount of local news we produce across our entire portfolio.”

If approved by the FCC, which should occur by the end of the year, Sinclair will own or provide sales and programming services to 149 television stations in 76 markets across the country.

You can see the list of Allbritton’s stations after the jump.

Read more

Sinclair Buys Nation’s Largest Supplier of TV Transmission Towers

Sinclair Broadcast Group is not just focusing on buying up TV stations. The station group has announced the purchased of Dielectric, the largest maker of TV, radio and wireless transmission towers in the US, from SPX Corporation.

“Dielectric has supplied more than two-thirds of the TV industry’s high power antennas and its name is synonymous with expert engineering and quality products,” Sinclair President and CEO David Smith said in a statement. “Further, if and when a spectrum repack occurs, Dielectric will be there to support that effort.”

>RELATED: Sinclair Buys Four Titan Stations, Agrees to Operate Two Read more

Sinclair Buys Four Titan Stations, Agrees to Operate Two

Sinclair Broadcast Group has announced it will buy the stock and broadcast assets of four Titan Broadcast Management TV stations and assume Titan’s agreements to provide sales and services to two others.

“We are pleased to bring the TTBG stations into the Sinclair portfolio,” said David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair in a statement. “They will complement the California properties we are acquiring from Fisher, as well as add to our Iowa presence and give us our first stations in Nebraska. We welcome all of them to the Sinclair group.”

The six stations are in three markets reaching 1% of US TV households. Sinclair put the purchase price at $115.35 million and expects the transaction to close and fund late in the third quarter early in the fourth quarter of 2013 pending FCC approval. Read more

Sinclair Broadcast Revenues Rise 33% in Q1

Sinclair Broadcast Group reported net broadcast revenues of $259.2 million in the first quarter of 2013, an increase of 32.5% on the year-ago quarter.

Sinclair’s operating income in the first quarter of 2013 increased to $63.7 million from $59.9 million in the first quarter of 2012. Local net broadcast revenues, which include local time sales, retransmission revenues and other broadcast revenues were up 32.8% for the quarter. National net broadcast revenues were up 31.5%.

“We are excited the Barrington Broadcasting, Fisher Communications and certain of the COX Media Group stations will soon be joining us. We intend to continue analyzing and evaluating opportunities to aquire additional television station assets towards creating greater scale for our operations and  value for our shareholders,” Sinclair president and CEO David Smith said in a statement.

Sinclair CEO: More Acquisitions Planned

As we told you yesterday, Sinclair Broadcast Group is paying $373 million for Fisher Communications, the Seattle-based owner of 20 television stations and 3 radio stations. The Seattle Times notes “local media ownership takes a hit” with the merger:

When KOMO-TV owner Fisher Communications becomes part of the much larger Sinclair Broadcast Group of Baltimore this fall, Seattle will lose its last locally owned network television station. It also will lose a corporate name that played a prominent part in the region’s economy for just over a century.

[...] Fisher has about 775 employees nationally and does not disclose how many are at its Seattle headquarters. Asked whether those core employees will keep their jobs, a Fisher spokesman said, “It is premature to speculate about integration planning.”

Sinclair’s hometown newspaper, The Baltimore Sun, reports the company — which will reach 34 percent of the airwaves after the FCC’s approval of the sale — has no plans to stop expanding:

But during a conference call with analysts, [Wells Fargo senior analyst Marci] Ryvicker questioned whether Sinclair’s acquisitions would soon be limited by Federal Communications Commission rules saying a single owner’s group of stations cannot reach more than 39 percent of all TV households.

“Now that [stations] cover 34 percent of the country, how much more can you do?” she asked.

“We can do a lot more,” responded [Sinclair CEO David] Smith, explaining that the percentage of household coverage, as calculated by the FCC, would be far below 34 percent because the FCC counts UHF stations, or Ultra High Frequency, as half of a non-UHF station. Read more

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