On the heels of a record-setting first quarter, Nexstar CEO Perry Sook says he expects the broadcast group to continue on its upward trajectory, with the acquisition of Media General later this year serving as a “watershed moment” for company.
“The new Nexstar Media Group will increase our legacy broadcast portfolio by approximately two thirds and more than double our audience reach while presenting opportunities related to the increased scale and complementary nature of the combined digital media operations, which we intend to aggressively manage to profitability,” Sook said Tuesday morning during his first quarter earnings report.
Adding Media General stations is expected to more than double Nexstar’s revenue and adjusted EBITDA, Sook said. The combined company, called Nexstar Media Group, will have 171 full-power TV stations in 100 markets and reach 39% of U.S. households.
Sook’s comments were in keeping with the overall robust financial picture he painted of Nexstar, which reported net revenue rising 26.7% to a record $255.7 million during the first quarter of 2016 ending March 31. He credited the growth to strong sales in key categories, political and digital growth.
That figure includes $129.2 million in core revenue, which is a 7.6% increase from the first quarter of 2015. Local revenue rose 11% to $93.8 million. Political was a boon for the company, rising 3,165% to $11.8 million.
Sook said that sort of financial success is a testament to the company’s commitment to serving local communities across platforms.
“Overall, we believe our record first quarter results continue to highlight the value of our long-term strategy to transform our traditional television operating model into a diversified media entity with high margin revenue streams while building scale through accretive acquisitions,” he said.
In turn, Sook dismissed the idea of launching the kind of national initiatives station groups are starting to launch on air, online and OTT, saying he prefers to remain locally focused.
“That’s our spot in the ecosystem,” he said. “We do local really really well. That’s our strength and our skill set.”