Sinclair Broadcast Group has climbed over three other major television networks and now is in third place in TVNewsCheck/BIA Kelsey's annual Top 30 rankings of station groups.
These rankings rate station groups by revenue from owned and operated television stations.
Fox Television Stations and CBS remain locked in their first and second place slots, and maintain comfortable leads over Sinclair, reports TV News Check. But Sinclair, which owns 112 TV stations, representing all the major networks, including Fox and CBS, reaches about 38 percent of all U.S. television households and is marking a rapid climb nationally.
To land in third place, Sinclair, which is based in Hunt Valley, Md., outside Baltimore, surpassed ABC/Disney, NBCUniversal and Tribune, which ended up in the fourth, fifth and eight-place spots. Last year, ABC was fourth; NBC was third, and Tribune was fifth, while Sinclair was in sixth place.
Mark Fratrik, BIA/Kelsey vice president and chief economist, said Sinclair's many acquisitions led to its rapid growth.
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Sinclair is continuing to climb, announcing in April that it entered into a merger agreement with Fisher Communications Inc. Sinclair will acquire Fisher's holdings, including 20 stations in eight markets in a transaction valued at approximately $373.3 million. The deal also inclides three radio stations in the Seattle market.
Gannett, Hearst, Univision and Belo round out the top 10 TV station groups.
The ranking is based on advertising estimates, and doesn't include revenue from retransmission fees or websites and digital broadcasting.
Sinclair's revenue for 2012 came in at $1.2 billion, compared to Fox's $1.8 billion and CBS' $1.6 billion.
NBCUniversal would still have been ranked at third place, had its revenues been combined with those of Telemundo. But the groups were reported separately because they have separate management. Telemundo, with $268 million in advertising revenue, was ranked at 21st place.
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