Nexstar Q4: Major Political Ad Boost, Core Ads Suffer

Big fourth-quarter political preemptions meant lower ad revenues for Nexstar Media Group’s core advertising. Still, overall advertising grew in the period.

Total advertising was up 37% to $771.8 million, as expected revenue hikes in political revenue helped boost overall revenue.

The largest U.S. TV station group witnessed core ad revenue down 10% to $474 million. Political advertising was up over 700% to a record $298.3 million, due to the presidential election season.

Core advertising declines came mostly in the month period before the election.

“This election season resulted in a reduction in inventory available for local and national advertisers in October,” said the company. Nexstar says there was improvement in core advertising revenue in November and December.

The group made gains in new core advertising business -- up 9.9% over third-quarter 2020 and 35% higher versus fourth-quarter 2019 -- to $27.8 million.

Distribution revenue grew in the period -- 18.4% more to $528 million -- even as Nexstar TV stations were blacked out by Dish Network, due to a carriage renewal contract stalemate for 23 days in December.

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Digital revenues were lower -- down 12.5% to $65 million. The company says this was “due to de-emphasizing unprofitable lines of business that produced high volumes without substantial margins.”

Overall, Nexstar revenue grew 25% to $1.4 billion, with net income 219% higher to $362.9 million.

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