Nexstar’s Sook Sees No Drag on Political Ad Revenue From Trump

Post convention, ‘money will need to be spent to win,' Perry Sook says
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Related: Nexstar’s Q4 Revenue Jumps 30.8% to Record High

Perry Sook, chairman, president and CEO of Nexstar Broadcasting Group, is not worried about political ad revenue given the ascendancy of Donald Trump in the GOP race, despite his reliance more on earned media than paid media.

“I don’t think there will be a negative effect, because once it becomes a nationwide campaign post-convention, money will need to be spent to win,” Sook said Thursday during Nexstar’s Q4 earnings call. “So we don’t see that as any kind of negative potential against our political number.”

Sook added that it is hard to predict though. Trump hasn’t spent much money, Sook said, but he has spent some. “I think money will be spent,” Sook said.

Nexstar has also been collecting “a fair amount” of money from the Democratic race.

“At this point we’re exceeding our political revenue budget for the first quarter, and that’s because of candidate and advocacy advertising,” Sook said.

During its earnings call Wednesday, Sinclair was likewise optimistic about political ad revenue in spite of Trumps’ propensity for earned media.

Sook expects Nexstar to see double-digit increases from distribution and political in 2016 and single-digit increases in core revenues. “If history is any guide, core activity should begin to accelerate as we move throughout the year,” he said.

Media General, which Nexstar agreed in late January to acquire, has a greater presence in battleground states Florida and Ohio in particular, which will provide “significantly greater amount of political advertising,” said Tom Carter, executive VP and chief financial officer

“These are the types of transactions that you keep as much powder dry as possible so that you can address the needs of the seller. We believe we did in an appropriate way,” Carter said. “The timing is right and our business model is right to rapidly be leveraged. And that’s what we’re committed to doing.”

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