It was pretty much double-digit black ink as far as the eye could see for television group Nexstar Broadcasting in the first quarter of 2010. The return of political advertising was only part of the story, as just about all income categories were up, contributing to a gain in net revenue of 23.7% to $68.6M.
Local was up 16.2% to $41.7 M; national rose 21.8% to $14.7M; political revenue – moving from $400K to $3.2M – was up 627.5%; e-MEDIA grew 25.9% to $3M; and retrans cash grew 39.9% to $7.4M. Adjusted EBITDA was $20.9M, a gain of 180%.
CEO Perry Sook commented, “Nexstar’s record first quarter net revenue reflects solid growth from all of our revenue sources and again demonstrates the value and success of our diversification strategies.” He noted significant improvement in the automotive category, up 40%, and an overall 13% gain in billing among the company’s top ten ad categories.
Commenting on the immediate future, Sook said, “The 2010 first quarter results confirm our expectation that initial increases in core advertising activity achieved in late 2009 will extend throughout 2010. In addition, we believe 2010 presents Nexstar with prospects for continued growth from all of our revenue sources and these prospects underscore the value of our initiatives to transition the traditional television broadcasting operating model into a multi-tiered model of high margin revenue streams. The expected revenue increases combined with operating and cost efficiencies and limited 2010 cap-ex commitments positions Nexstar to generate record free cash flow in 2010 which will be deployed for debt reduction and new value creating initiatives.”
The company described its holdings in its financial press release, stating “Nexstar Broadcasting Group currently owns, operates, programs or provides sales and other services to 62 television stations in 34 markets in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, New York, Rhode Island, Utah and Florida. Nexstar’s television station group includes affiliates of NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, MyNetworkTV and The CW and reaches approximately 13 million viewers or approximately 11.5% of all U.S. television households.”