Nexstar Broadcasting reported fourth quarter revenue of $86.2 million, down 11.2% from the $97 million it reported in the previous fourth quarter.
Local revenues were up 4.6% and national revs climbed 11.6%, for a core local and national revenue gain of 6.4%. But the relative lack of political advertising in the quarter meant a revenue dip for Nexstar.
"Nexstar ended 2011 on a strong note with fourth quarter core revenue growth of 6.4%, marking the highest level of quarterly core revenue growth during the year and our ninth consecutive quarter of core television advertising revenue growth," said Perry Sook, chairman/president/CEO. "Nexstar's full year 2011 core local and national revenue rose 4.8%, which was in line with our expectations, while net revenue declined just 2.2% despite the cyclical impact of an approximately $33 million variance in political advertising in 2011."
In the Q&A following the earnings announcement Thursday, Sook was asked for an update on the potential sale of Nexstar; the company revealed its intention to "explore strategic alternatives" in July. Sook said it was highly unlikely the process would exceed the one year anniversary of that announcement. "Discussions are still ongoing on a various array of fronts," he said. "Things move slower than we all would like but the pencils are not down on this. There are still discussions about various alternatives and we continue to weigh what is in the long term best interest of shareholders."
Sook said Nexstar looks well positioned for 2012. "Nexstar's automotive advertising revenue is poised for further growth throughout 2012 based on forecasts for new vehicle sales growth, a significant rise by manufacturers in planned new car launches and the ongoing return of advertising by brands that were impacted by the earthquake and other supply issues," he said. "With the ad environment improving and auto advertising increasing, Nexstar expects record levels of revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow in 2012."