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Nexstar Earnings Get Boost From Political Ad Bonanza

Nexstar 4Q earnings Perry Sook
Nexstar and CEO Perry Sook (front row, blue shirt) had a big fourth quarter (Image credit: Nexstar)

Nexstar Media Group reported a big jump in fourth-quarter profits driven by a big haul of political advertising in a presidential election year.

Net income rose to $364.2 million, or $7.97 per share, from $113.2 million, or $2.36 a share a year ago.

Revenue rose 25.1% to $362.9 million. Advertising revenue was up 37.3% to $771.8 million as the company collected $298.3 million in political spending, compared to $36.5 million a year ago. 

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Core advertising revenue was down 9.9% to $473.5 million as COVID-19 and the recession it caused continue to affect business.

Distribution fee revenue was up 18.4% to $528 million, despite a nearly month-long blackout with Dish in December.

Digital revenue dropped 12.5% to $65 million.

“Nexstar’s fourth quarter financial results conclude an outstanding year, as we set new records across every key financial performance metric, all of which exceeded consensus expectations,” said CEO Perry Sook.

“While robust demand from campaigns and issue advertisers this election season resulted in a reduction in inventory available for local and national advertisers in October, we continued to generate a sequential month-over-month improvement in core advertising revenue in November and December, which were the strongest months of the year since the pandemic began,” he said.