Nexstar Media Group reported lower second-quarter earnings as the absence of political advertising reduced revenue.
Net income dropped 18.3% to $70.7 million, or $1.42 per share, from $86.6 million, or $1.86 per share a year ago.
Revenue fell 1.7% to $649 million.
Television ad revenue was down 10.3% to $270.8 million, mainly because of a 90% decline in political ad revenue to just $3.2 million. Excluding political, net revenue increased 2.7%.
Local ad revenue was up 0.4% to $199.3 million, but national ad revenue was off 4.6% to $68.3 million.
Revenue from retransmission fees was up 13.8% to $314.3 million.
Nexstar’s stations are currently blacked out on AT&T’s DirecTV and Uverse platforms, affecting millions of subscribers in the third quarter. Nexstar did sign a new affiliation deal with CBS, covering 19 of its stations.
“Nexstar’s second quarter results reflect our ongoing progress in leveraging the viewership and reach of our leading local broadcast platform to generate continued double-digit distribution revenue growth,” said Nexstar CEO Perry Sook.
Sook said Nexstar expected to close it acquisition of Tribune stations to be completed in the third quarter.
“In summary, Nexstar’s organization-wide commitment to excellence in local content for viewers and users as well as unparalleled marketing results for our advertisers has been fundamental to our success and growth. We look forward to realizing the significant strategic and economic benefits from the Tribune Media transaction later this year,” Sook said. “With our increased geographic diversity and audience reach, a large number of distribution contract renewals at 2019 year-end and the return of the political cycle with the upcoming 2020 presidential election, Nexstar has excellent visibility to delivering on or exceeding our free cash flow and leverage reduction targets in the current cycle and a clear path for the continued near- and long-term enhancement of shareholder value."