Political Ad Spending Drives New ‘CW Network’ Owner Nexstar’s Q3 Revenue Up 10%

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.

Nexstar Media Group Completes Acquisition of The CW, Names Dennis Miller President of Content Production

Nexstar Media Group Oct. 3 announced it completed the acquisition of a 75% ownership stake in The CW from minority co-owners Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global. Nexstar reportedly assumes much of The CW’s $100 million in debt as part of the purchase price.

Irving, Tex.-based Nexstar operates 200 owned or partner television stations in 116 U.S. markets reaching 212 million people.

Dennis Miller

Nexstar announced that Dennis Miller has been named president of The CW, effective immediately, replacing Mark Pedowitz, who served as chairman/CEO of The CW for the past 11 years. Throughout his tenure, Pedowitz was instrumental in charting the expansion of The CW and bringing some of the most groundbreaking and generation-defining programming to television.

Miller, who has served as a member of Nexstar’s board of directors since 2014, has stepped down from the board in connection with his appointment. Nexstar has initiated a search for a new member of its board.

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“Dennis brings a unique skill set of proven television, media, and technology industry expertise, as well as venture capital experience to the role of president at The CW,” Perry Sook, chairman/CEO of Nexstar, said in a statement.

Miller career stops include senior executive positions at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate Television and Turner Network Television. He most recently served as chairman of Industrial Media until its sale to Sony Pictures Television earlier this year. Industrial Media is an independent production group whose companies collectively produce more than 94 television shows airing across 34 networks, including “American Idol” on ABC; the “Matchmaker” series on Netflix; the Selena Gomez cooking show and the upcoming “The Climb” with Jason Momoa, both on HBO; the upcoming Elton John documentary on Apple+; and Discovery’s “90 Day Fiancé.”