Nexstar Broadcasting Group's CEO Discusses Q1 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Nexstar Broadcasting Group (NXST)

Q1 2011 Earnings Call

May 11, 2011 10:00 am ET


Perry Sook - Founder, Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Executive Officer of Nexstar Broadcasting Inc, President of Nexstar Broadcasting Inc and Director of Nexstar Broadcasting Inc

Thomas Carter - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer and Executive Vice President


Unknown Analyst -

Jonathan Levine

Barry Lucas - Gabelli & Company, Inc.

Bishop Cheen - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC



Good day, and welcome to the Nexstar Broadcasting Group's 2011 First Quarter Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded. All statements and comments made by management during this conference, other than statements of historical fact, may be deemed forward looking statements within the meaning of Section 21 of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21A of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.

The company's future financial conditions and results of operations, as well as forward-looking statements, are subject to change. The forward-looking statements and comments made during this conference call are made only as of the date of today's conference call. Management will also be discussing non-GAAP information during this call. In compliance with Regulation G, reconciliations of this non-GAAP information to GAAP measurements are included in today's news announcement. The company does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements reflective of changes and circumstances.

At this time, I'd like to turn the conference over to your host, Nexstar President and CEO, Perry Sook. Please go ahead.

Perry Sook

Thanks, Nikki, and good morning, everyone. Thank you all for joining us this morning to review the Nexstar first quarter 2011 operating results and our recent developments. Our Chief Financial Officer, Tom Carter, is also with me here this morning.

Nexstar's strong operating and financial momentum continues into the first quarter of 2011, as reflected by our all-time record first quarter revenues and our record odd year EBITDA and free cash flow. With most companies in our sector now having reported, I think it's fair to say that Nexstar's revenue growth in the first quarter was among the best in the industry. At the same time, we continue to make excellent progress in streamlining our capital structure, reducing our leverage and lowering our weighted average cost of debt.

During Q1, our focus on building new-to-television local direct billings, combined with the ongoing advertising recovery, drove Nexstar's 6 consecutive quarter core television revenue growth, core revenue being comprised of just local and national advertising. By again coupling our core revenue growth with further execution of our strategies to diversify our revenue sources, we handled the offset, the 82% year-over-year decline in political advertising, as well as the benefit of approximately $4.5 million in last year's first quarter from advertising related to the Winter Olympics.

Notably, excluding the impact of political revenue from both periods, Nexstar's first quarter 2011 revenue rose approximately 5.2% compared with the first quarter of 2010. And while we expected political revenue to drop from the 2010 levels, our 2011 Q1 gross political revenue exceeded the levels in Q1 of 2009 by about 30%.

Nexstar's 2011 first quarter net revenue increase of 1.9% was driven by growth in both core local and national revenue, including another double-digit gain in automotive advertising, as well as ongoing robust e-MEDIA and retransmission fee revenue growth. Total first quarter retransmission fee, mobile, and e-MEDIA and management fee revenue collectively rose 17.1% to $12.7 million, and these higher margin revenue streams accounted for over 18% of our 2011 first quarter net revenue. That's their highest contribution to our quarterly revenue mix since we created these revenue streams.

Digging a little deeper on our first quarter. Our gross local and national television ad revenue growth of 3.3% to $58.3 million is on top of the 17.6% growth recorded in last year's first quarter. First quarter 2011 local revenue rose by 3.7%, national revenue was up 2.1%. The strength in automotive advertising continued for us in Q1. Category revenue rising 10% year-over-year, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue gains in automotive ad spend for Nexstar.

Nexstar's television ad revenue strength, combined with continued double-digit growth in retransmission fee, mobile, and e-MEDIA elements of our quadruple play of revenues and our quarterly management fee revenue collectively resulted in a 1.9% increase in total first quarter net revenues to $69.9 million. Additionally, we generated first quarter BCF of $24.8 million, adjusted EBITDA of $20 million, free cash flow of $3.6 million, all of which are record levels for an odd year first quarter.

Let me quickly review our quarterly and recent financial highlights, and then Tom will take you through additional detail. Our first quarter retransmission consent fee revenues were $8.5 million, representing a year-over-year increase of 15.6% and a quarterly sequential increase of 11.8%. We're starting to see the benefits of our newest contracts now rolling into the mix for 2011. Q1 e-MEDIA revenue came in at $3.7 million, and that surpassed last year's first quarter by 23.8%, marking the 18th consecutive quarter of growth for Nexstar's community web portal and mobile media strategies.

In the first quarter, we recorded $500,000 of management fee revenue from our services agreement to manage the Four Points Media Group. We're entitled to performance compensation, as we generate broadcast cash flow for the station group above the specified specials in our contracts, and we achieved solid upside on this front in the third and fourth quarters of 2010, and we expect that to be the case again later this year.

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