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Gray Television: Political Bonanza
05/19/2016 7:00 am EST
This year’s election will be the most expensive election in history, as the political parties attempt to sway voters and key donors, asserts Keith Fitz-Gerald, editor of Total Wealth.
Candidates, their parties, and special interest groups may very well spend over $8 billion, according to Wells Fargo Securities and Borrell Associates.
Of that, an estimated $1 billion is going to be spent on digital media alone. That’s a whopping 4,344% increase from the $22.25 million spent only 8 years ago in 2008, and a figure, incidentally, that I find conservative.
When the dust settles, I actually think the spending is going to be a lot higher. The 2016 election cycle is going to decide a stunning 12 governorships, 34 Senate seats, and every single one of the 435 US House of Representatives seats.
Right now, the largest spending category (and therefore the biggest source of potential profits) is broadcast TV.
My favorite choice is Gray Television (GTN). The company just reported earnings and there was a lot to like.
For example, every one of the company’s revenue sources were up double-digit percentages.
Local advertising revenue was up 14% year-over-year, increasing by $14.5 million. National ad revenue was up 24%, to $17.9 million.
Political revenue jumped a stunning 733% year-over-year to $9.7 million. I don’t believe this will stop any time soon.
All the political discord, the name-calling, and the finger-pointing that's taken over our airwaves at the moment actually improves this company's potential.
It’s one thing for a company to tap into spending, and another thing entirely to bring that to the bottom line.
I believe Gray can do both; the company announced record operating results totaling $173.7 million in revenue, up 30% from the 1st quarter of 2015.
At the same time, broadcast cash flow was up 41% from last year. Net income rose 61% year-over-year, too.
The company has 91 stations, nearly every single one of which is a market leader in key “battleground” states, including Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, and – the king of swing states – Florida.
This suggests to me that GTN is uniquely positioned to catch the lion’s share of the projected political spending this cycle – its stations are strategically and efficiently concentrated to benefit from the spending bonanza.
By Keith Fitz-Gerald, Editor of Total Wealth
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