Television station owner and program syndicator Nexstar Media Group recently acquired majority ownership (75%) of The CW Network from Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global for an undisclosed amount.
The current political election season is helping pay for that transaction.
Nexstar Nov. 8 reported third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) revenue of $1.27 billion, up 9.7% from the prior year quarter revenue of $1.15 billion. Revenue growth was driven by strong political advertising revenue and year-over-year increases in distribution, digital and other revenue.
Specifically, political ad spending increased 942.7% year-over-year to $129.3 million, from $13.7 million a year ago. The spending was 84.3% higher than the third quarter of the 2018 midterm election cycle and was just $3.1 million behind third quarter of the 2020 presidential election level.
Political ad spending is projected to increase heading toward the 2024 presidential race.
“We expect the fourth quarter to benefit from a continuation of strong political advertising trends while 2023 will see distribution revenue upside from renewals of agreements representing more than half of our subscribers,” CEO Perry Sook said in a statement. “Looking forward, we expect 2024 to benefit from another record year for political advertising due to the presidential election combined with the benefit of another wave of distribution agreement renewals for approximately 40% our subscribers.”
Indeed, Nexstar recently launched the NewsNation network as a means of capitalizing financially on the divided political landscape. New hires include former CNN opinion hosts Chris Cuomo and Ashley Banfield and Court TV host Dan Abrams.