Gray Television (GTN) Q1 2012 Earnings Call May 02, 2012 11:30 am ET Executives Hilton H. Howell - Vice Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Member of Executive Committee Robert S. Prather - President, Chief Operating Officer, Director and Member of Executive Committee James C. Ryan - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President Analysts Bishop Cheen - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division Marci Ryvicker - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division Aaron Watts - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division Barry L. Lucas - Gabelli & Company, Inc. Lawrence Schnurmacher Michael McCaffrey Unknown Analyst Presentation Operator
And what we can only see as a sign of improving economy in our core advertising categories, our 5 largest local and national advertising categories all increased. Automotive increased by 8%, restaurants increased also by 8%, medical increased by 15%, communications increased by 17% and furniture and appliances increased by 5%. These excellent results led to net income of $2.2 million or $0.04 per share for the quarter compared to a loss of $4.9 million or $0.09 per share last year.In our last conference call, we said that we expected robust and likely record revenue growth and earnings for the year, and our results today have, we believed, confirmed our confidence. The Super Bowl on NBC produced about $600,000 in increase for Gray compared to last year's Super Bowl broadcast on the FOX network. Further, we believe that the NBC broadcast of the Summer Olympics from London will be a certain ratings winner for the network and for Gray's 10 NBC stations this summer. And obviously, we expect continued record-setting political advertising in this presidential election year. We're also proud to note that on April 4, Standard & Poor's raised its corporate credit rating on Gray from B- to B with a stable outlook, and this past Monday, Moody's followed suit and raised its outlook on Gray to positive. With regard to our balance sheet this quarter, we have continued to reduce our debt and have prepaid approximately $10 million and expect much more substantial debt reduction to the balance of the year. Clearly, we are very pleased with our results this quarter and expect great things for the rest of 2012. With that, I will turn it over to Bob Prather. Bob? Robert S. Prather Thanks, Hilton. I appreciate it. Thank you. Hilton summed it up pretty good. It was a good quarter. We're very happy with it. I think the rest of the year is looking strong right now. The economy, at least for the broadcast industry, seems to be coming back pretty strong. Local has been very, very good. Automotive is leading the charge as you would expect. I've talked to a lot of our managers and a lot of car dealers around and they're all saying that they're getting a huge amount of activity in showrooms, and the key thing is, that finance is available, interest rates at all-time lows, leasing is back in a big way. And so I think the car dealers are going to continue to have a very, very strong year the rest of this year. There's a lot of pent-up demand from 2009 and '10 when the volume of cars that show in this country has dropped close to almost 40% during that time period. So I think there's a lot of people out there sitting with the 5-, 6-, 7-year-old cars that are looking to get a new car. So I think this is going to continue.
We're continuing our local HD conversion. We'll be through with virtually all our stations, except for a few of our smaller markets by the end of this year. I think it's gone extremely well. I think it's extremely important. I think all of you that have an HD television. I'm pretty sure [indiscernible] probably got one. You can't even watch standard definition anymore once you watch HD. And that includes local news. And I think people work with their feet. If you don't have local news on in the market, somebody else does. We have been very fortunate to be first in most of our markets with local news and where we work first. We were right behind whoever went on first. So I want us to continue this, and this is extremely important for us to maintain our news presence and also to maintain our strong #1 ratings and reinforce our markets. So this is something we want to continue.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com