Nexstar Media Group posted solid revenue gains driven by higher-than-expected second-quarter political advertising and rising distribution and retransmission fees.
Political advertising was up over five times versus the second quarter a year ago -- $31.6 million versus $5.5 million. It was “$8 million above what we modeled and offset lighter local and national,” says Barton Crockett, media analyst at B. Riley FBR.
At the same time. the big TV station group witnessed a 5.3% decline in local TV advertising to $198.6 million and a 7.3% drop in national spot TV advertising to $71.6 million.
Still, overall TV ad revenues grew 3.2% to $301.8 million.
Perry Sook, chairman-CEO, Nexstar, said in his earnings comments: “Reflecting our presence in states with high levels of political spending activity, 2018 second-quarter political revenue outpaced our budgets and consensus estimates and rose by 369% over the 2014 period, the last comparable mid-term election cycle.”
Nexstar’s overall revenues were up 5% to $660 million, with net income up 79% to $86.6 million. Nexstar’s Wednesday morning stock was up 0.5% to $75.70.
As with many TV stations groups, Nexstar saw healthy improvements in retransmission distribution revenue, rising 9.2% to $276.3 million.
Digital advertising revenue inched up 1.5% to $64.0 million. The company says “certain legacy Media General digital operations ... were discontinued in the second half of last year.”