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Nexstar Reports Higher Fourth-Quarter Earnings

Nexstar Media, which acquired Media General early last year, reported higher profits and revenue for the fourth quarter.

Net income was $379.9 million, or $8.27 per share, up from $20.4 million, to 67 cents, a year ago.

Net revenue were 653.7 million, up 111%. Core advertising revenue was up 152% to $347.4 million, despite a drop in political advertising.

Retransmission fee revenue was up 153% to $253.3 million.

Digital revenue rose 148% to $63.9 million

"Nexstar's record fourth quarter and full year financial results mark the conclusion of an active and transformational year for the Company and another period of growth across all financial metrics that exceeded consensus estimates,” said CEO Perry Sook. “The record results reflect the economic and strategic benefits of last January's Media General transaction and our ability to extract synergies that were ahead of projections, combined with our ongoing success in leveraging our local content and community involvement, diversifying our revenue streams, driving operating efficiencies and optimizing the balance sheet and capital structure.

Looking ahead, Nexstar said it expects to benefit from the Super Bowl and Olympics on NBC, contested mid-term elections and continued retransmission and digital revenue growth.

The company said it expects to generate average annual free cash flow of slightly in excess of $600 million for the 2018/2019 cycle.

"Local broadcast television remains the most powerful segment of the media and advertising ecosphere and our strong local platforms command the greatest share of audience reach within a market. As the most trusted medium among viewers, with a brand safe environment and the greatest influence on consumer purchasing and voting decisions, local broadcast television is the unrivalled, leading provider of ROI-driven marketing solutions for brand managers, advertisers and political campaigns,” Sook said. “The enduring value of Nexstar's unique, locally-produced news programming and content married with marquee national network content and access to new and emerging digital distribution platforms is an unbeatable value and competitive proposition. In 2017, Nexstar forged agreements with all of the big four networks for participation in their OTT services and our solid relationships and common goals with the networks is the foundation of these agreements.”