Nexstar Broadcasting posted a 42.6% increase in net revenue from Q3 2014 to a record $224.9 million for Q3 2015.
The company more than made up for the 86% decrease in political revenue to $2.6 million, attributed to 2015 not being a national election year.
Retransmission fee revenue jumped 96.5% to $80 million, while local and national ad revenue were up 33.7% and 48.2%, respectively, to $88 million and $37.9 million. Core revenue climbed 37.8% to $125.9 million. Digital media revenue also saw a 55.6% boost to $20.1 million.
“Nexstar’s consistent industry out-performance is the direct result of our disciplined operating and cost management practices, revenue diversification initiatives and the success we are achieving in identifying, financing and integrating accretive acquisitions,” said Perry Sook, Nexstar chairman, president and CEO. “With our long-term strategic focus on completing accretive transactions that expand our scale and free cash flow, Nexstar remained active and successful during the third quarter in building the platform for continued growth and the return of political advertising revenue in 2016.”
Sook added that he was “pleasantly surprised” that the company’s political revenue for Q4 is “ahead of our budget and ahead of our expectations,” citing the Louisiana gubernatorial runoff election, upcoming presidential caucuses in Iowa and state elections in Pennsylvania. “I don’t think it is too much of a leap to roll that forward into 2016,” he said.
Tom Carter, executive VP and chief financial officer, noted that the company is in the midst of its budgeting process for 2016 but expects a positive uptick political ad revenue. “Nothing in the existing environment or results we’ve seen to date to cause us to be anything except more than optimistic about that,” he said.
Carter also touched on the broadcast incentive spectrum auction, saying that the conversation has begun to move “from the abstract to the concrete” now that the initial prices have come out.
“We are spending an increasingly greater amount of time on the spectrum auction looking at various options, looking at the economics of that,” he said. “I don’t think it has necessarily meaningfully changed our view on that other than the fact that we’re having to spend more time on it because it is becoming more and more real.”