TV stations and their investors are already the big winners from this year’s elections. Political campaigns and groups will funnel a record $2.8B to local broadcasters, according to a report today by Moody’s Investors Service. And most recipients will use the bonanza “to position themselves to operate more comfortably in 2013, when political advertising virtually disappears,” the debt rating firm says. FoxCo is using some of its political cash to launch a a $175M financing to fund its first dividend for its backers. In addition, Moody’s says that LIN Television, Nexstar, and Sinclair “have all earmarked cash from the political windfall to acquire more stations in 2012, and we believe more M&A activity will follow.” Moody’s Senior Analyst Carl Salas says that “pure-play U.S. television broadcasters expect to earn up to 25% more in revenues from political advertising in 2012 than in 2010. The expected increase of more than $500 million will mark the largest dollar increase ever measured over a two-year election cycle.” To put that into perspective, he says that political ads “will account for up to 9% of the U.S. broadcast industry’s average annual revenue, well above the historical 6% to 7% norm.” But don’t expect Moody’s to raise everyone’s credit rating. Traditional ad sales still account for the bulk of their revenues, and they are growing slowly.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.