Record odd-year results for Nexstar (audio)


Perry SookThat’s how Nexstar CEO Perry Sook summed up Q4 2011 results for the TV company, putting the focus on core ad revenues as the political windfall from 2010 was missing in the past year. That core ad revenue was up 6.4%, while net revenues overall were down 11.2%.

Local ad revenues were up 4.6% in Q4 to $49.3 million. National gained 11.6% to $18 million. So core ad revenues were up 6.4% to $67.3 million.

Of course, without a federal election, political revenues fell 91.1% to $2 million (from $22.6 million). The network comp/other line was also down, off 32.7% to $772K.

Everything else was up. Retransmission fee revenue grew 34.9% to $10.3 million. Management fee revenue increased 9% to $4.2 million. Nexstar’s e-Media revenue gained 8.1% to $4.3 million. And trade/barter revenue increased 3% to $6.1 million.

Nexstar provided lots of detail on the financial results. Gross revenue excluding political was up 8.4% to $92.9 million. All in, gross revenue was down 12.4% to $94.9 million. With less political ad placement, agency commissions were down 23% to $8.7 million. So net revenues overall were down 11.2% to $86.2 million. Broadcast cash flow (BCF) declined 25.8% to $34.9 million.

The company’s full year results saw core ad revenues up 4.8% to $247.3 million, gross revenues excluding political up 7.3% to $331.9 million and gross revenues including political (down 83.9% to $6.3 million) off 3% to $338.2 million. Net revenues declined 22% for the year to $306.5 million and BCF dropped 12.4% to $115.9 million.

Sook didn’t provide specific guidance, but said growth is continuing and the company is expecting record results for 2012.

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Sook noted that auto continues to improve. The category is not back to the level of accounting for 25% of ad sales, but is back up above 21%. But he also noted growth in other categories and that Nexstar has reduced its overall dependence on ad revenues by growing revenues from retrans and other non-advertising sources.

RBR-TVBR observation: Yes, Nexstar is still for sale. The company has refused to say anything about developments in its strategic review, but Sook did indicate that discussions are still ongoing and the company’s board will only have an announcement when there is something to announce. That would appear to be either a deal or a decision to end the effort without a sale. But the CEO did assure analysts that he didn’t expect the process to go past its first anniversary, which would be in late July.