Nexstar Media turned in another solid quarter, this time seeing its fourth-quarter net revenue rise about 111% thanks to big growth in advertising and retransmission fee revenue.
With its third full quarter of operations including the Media General assets in the books, Nexstar saw its core television ad revenue increase 151.6% and retransmission fee revenue and digital media revenue rose 152.5% and 148.3%, respectively. Operating income grew 52.3%, adjusted EBITDA grew 67.4% and free cash flow grew 81.7%.
Core advertising totaled $347,426,000; retrans revenue totaled $253,279,000; digital revenue totaled $63,924,000 and net revenue totaled $653,664,000. In all, the company said those numbers helped drive operating income hit $140.8 million and adjusted EBITDA reach $225.7 million.
“The continued shift of our revenue mix reflects our long-term initiatives to build scale and diversify revenue through our focus on high growth retransmission and digital opportunities,” said Nexstar Media CEO Perry Sook in a statement.
Nexstar’s combined fourth quarter digital media and retransmission fee revenue of $317.2 million rose 151.6% over the prior-year period and accounted for 48.5% of net revenue.
“With the operating and financial growth momentum across our platform continuing in 2018, we expect Nexstar to benefit from several key factors including the Winter Olympics, Super Bowl on NBC, heavily contested midterm elections, continued retransmission and digital revenue growth and the recurring free cash flow benefit to be derived, in future years, from the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. As such, Nexstar expects to generate average annual free cash flow of slightly in excess of $600 million for the 2018/2019 cycle, which reflects our assumptions for interest rate increases and the Company’s transition to nearly a full tax payer in 2018,” said Sook.