Sinclair Broadcast saw its fourth-quarter total revenue fall 8% to $734 million, down from about $798 million one year ago. But the company’s net income spiked, thanks in part to the GOP tax plan.
The company attributed the dip in revenues primarily to less political advertising. In the fourth quarter of 2016, Sinclair pulled in $113 million in political advertising. That same shortfall led to a decline at Sinclair’s media segment, where revenues fell 5.7% to $685.4 million. But revenues from Sinclair’s digital businesses rose 64% during the quarter.
"The fourth-quarter 2017 performance was better than expected with results that exceeded our previously provided guidance for key financial metrics, after adjusting for transaction, legal and other one-time charges," said Sinclair President and CEO Chris Ripley in a statement. "While the first quarter of 2018 is off to a slower than expected start due to our low percentage of NBC affiliates, which is the network that aired the Super Bowl and Olympics, we are looking forward to growth drivers from the upcoming mid-term elections and the positive effects from tax reform and a growing economy."
Meanwhile, net income for the quarter totaled $443.5 million, shooting well ahead of the $121 million posted one year ago, due in large part to a nonrecurring $272 million tax benefit Sinclair got after remeasurement of its deferred tax assets and liabilities.
“We are confident the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act tax reform legislation will result in a favorable effect through the many small and medium-sized local businesses we support on the advertising front. Meanwhile, we continue to work with the required governmental agencies towards the successful acquisition of Tribune Media Company, expected to close in the second quarter of 2018,” said Sinclair Executive Chairman David Smith in a statement.