Nexstar Broadcasting Group (NXST)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

November 08, 2011 10:00 am ET


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

Perry A. 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


Barry L. Lucas - Gabelli & Company, Inc.

Andrew Finkelstein - Lehman Brothers

Aaron Watts - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Edward J. Atorino - The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division

John Kornreich - Sandler Capital

Unknown Analyst -



Good day, and welcome to Nexstar Broadcasting Group's 2011 Third 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 the conference call are made only as of the date of today's conference call.

Management will be also be discussing non-GAAP information during this call. In compliance with Regulation G, reconciliations of these 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 in circumstances.

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

Perry A. Sook

Thank you, Lori, and good morning, everyone. Thank you, all, for joining us to review Nexstar's third quarter 2011 operating results. Our Chief Financial Officer, Tom Carter, is on the call with me today. Brian Jones, our Co-Chief Operating Officer, is also here this morning.

The 2011 third quarter was a very active and productive period for Nexstar as we extended our strong operating and financial momentum while continuing to build our platform for further growth. Nexstar's record third quarter revenue reflects our eighth consecutive quarter of core television advertising revenue growth, which was complemented by significant double-digit revenue gains in every one of our non-television advertising revenue sources.

Nexstar's third quarter results again highlight the value created by our revenue diversification initiatives, our select accretive station acquisitions and our continued success in generating new local direct advertising.

The revenue reported this morning is an all-time third quarter record for Nexstar that stands over our 15-year history and reflects the company's success in overcoming a $6.7 million year-over-year political revenue decline as well as the challenges experienced by several of the major Japanese auto manufacturers following the earthquake and tsunami of earlier this year.

In addition to the record Q3 revenue, during the past quarter, we further optimized our station portfolio through accretive transactions including the completion of the purchase of WFRV-TV in Green Bay and WJMN-TV in Michigan. We also significantly expanded the number of hours per week of proprietary local programming, primarily additional local news that we produce. We added an ABC affiliation in Terre Haute, Indiana. And we agreed to acquire WEHT-TV, Evansville, Indiana's ABC affiliate, which upon closing later this year, will create Nexstar's 22nd duopoly market.

We've participated in the launch of Bounce TV, the nation's first over-the-air broadcast television network targeted specifically to African-American audiences. We launched that in 10 of our markets. And we further expanded our mobile offerings to bring local advertisers more innovative solutions that yield high interaction, sustainability and ROI while supporting our strategy of developing hyperlocal content in verticals for both consumers and advertisers.

Before we get deeper into our discussion this morning, just like last quarter, I want to quickly address a piece of housekeeping with respect to our announcement on July 21 that the company's Board of Directors decided to explore and evaluate strategic alternatives intended to maximize shareholder value, including the potential of a possible sale of the company.

As indicated in that release, Nexstar does not intend to disclose developments with respect to the strategic review process until such time as the Board has approved the transaction or otherwise, being disclosure to the appropriate. As such, we will not be making comments on this topic today.

Looking deeper now into our revenue growth, the 5.3% rise in core ad revenue and another period of double-digit increases in e-Media, retransmission fee and management fee revenue more than offset the impact of a 74.3% year-over-year reduction in political revenue.

Excluding political revenue from both periods, Nexstar's 2011 third quarter gross revenue rose 8.4% year-over-year. Our total third quarter retransmission fee, e-Media, mobile, management fee revenue cumulatively rose 26% to $15.2 million from the year-ago period. These high-margin revenue streams accounted for about 20.3% of our 2011 third quarter total net revenue compared to 16.5% in the third quarter of 2010, which as I noted a moment ago, benefited from $6.7 million in political revenue.

Furthermore, Nexstar's total net revenue for the third quarter of 2011 is 23.9% ahead of the $60.4 million total net revenue reported in the third quarter of 2009, our last odd year comparison, and our revenue from non-television advertising sources has grown by 56% since that time. Despite the still fragile economic environment, Nexstar's 2011 revenue comparisons, excluding political, had improved on a quarterly sequential basis each quarter throughout the year.

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