10-K 1 nxst-10k_20171231.htm 10-K nxst-10k_20171231.htm

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, DC 20549

FORM 10-K

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

for the transition period from                     to                     .

Commission File Number: 000-50478

NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP, INC.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

Delaware

 

23-3083125

(State of Organization or Incorporation)

 

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

 

 

 

545 E. John Carpenter Freeway, Suite 700, Irving, Texas

 

75062

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

(Zip Code)

(972) 373-8800

(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Class A Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share

 

NASDAQ Global Select Market

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  

 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No  

 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that it was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  

 

Indicate by checkmark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes      No  

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the Registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  

 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (check one):

 

Large accelerated filer

 

 

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

 

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  

 

As of June 30, 2017, the aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the Registrant was $2,608,125,138.

 

As of February 28, 2018, the Registrant had 46,109,349 shares of Class A Common Stock outstanding.

 

Documents Incorporated By Reference

 

Portions of the Proxy Statement for the Registrant’s 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders will be filed with the Commission within 120 days after the close of the Registrant’s fiscal year and incorporated by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

  

 

  

Page

PART I

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 1.

  

 Business

  

5

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 1A.

  

 Risk Factors

  

23

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 1B.

  

 Unresolved Staff Comments

  

37

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 2.

  

 Properties

  

37

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 3.

  

 Legal Proceedings

  

37

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 4.

  

 Mine Safety Disclosures

  

37

 

 

 

 

 

PART II

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 5.

  

 Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

  

38

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 6.

  

 Selected Financial Data

  

40

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 7.

  

 Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

  

42

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 7A.

  

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

  

60

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 8.

  

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

  

60

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 9.

  

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

  

60

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 9A.

  

Controls and Procedures

  

60

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 9B.

  

Other Information

  

61

 

 

 

 

 

PART III

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 10.

  

 Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

  

62

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 11.

  

 Executive Compensation

  

62

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 12.

  

 Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management, and Related Stockholder Matters

  

62

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 13.

  

 Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

  

62

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 14.

  

 Principal Accountant Fees and Services

  

62

 

 

 

 

 

PART IV

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 15.

  

 Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

  

62

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 16.

 

Form 10-K Summary

 

62

 

 

 

 

 

Index to Exhibits

 

63

 

 

 

 

 

Index to Financial Statements

 

F-1

 

 

 

 


General

As used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and unless the context indicates otherwise, “Nexstar” refers to Nexstar Media Group, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries; “Nexstar Broadcasting” refers to Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc., our wholly-owned direct subsidiary; the “Company” refers to Nexstar and the variable interest entities (“VIEs”) required to be consolidated in our financial statements; and all references to “we,” “our,” “ours,” and “us” refer to Nexstar.

Nexstar Broadcasting has time brokerage agreements (“TBAs”), shared services agreements (“SSAs”), joint sales agreements (“JSAs”), local marketing agreements (“LMAs”) and outsourcing agreements (which we generally refer to as “local service agreements”) relating to the television stations owned by VIEs but does not own any of the equity interests in these entities. For a description of the relationship between Nexstar and these VIEs, see Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

The information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K includes information related to Nexstar and its consolidated subsidiaries. It also includes information related to VIEs with whom Nexstar has relationships. In accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“U.S. GAAP”) and as discussed in Note 2 to our Consolidated Financial Statements, the financial results of the consolidated VIEs are included in the Consolidated Financial Statements contained herein.

In the context of describing ownership of television stations in a particular market, the term “duopoly” refers to owning or deriving the majority of the economic benefit, through ownership or local service agreements, from two or more stations in a particular market. For more information on how we derive economic benefit from a duopoly, see Item 1, “Business.”

There are 210 generally recognized television markets, known as Designated Market Areas, or DMAs, in the United States. DMAs are ranked in size according to various factors based upon actual or potential audience. DMA rankings contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are from Investing in Television Market Report 2017 4th Edition, as published by BIA Financial Network, Inc.

Reference is made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the following trademarks/tradenames which are owned by the third parties referenced in parentheses: Two and a Half Men (Warner Bros. Domestic Television) and Entertainment Tonight (CBS Television Distribution).


3


Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”). All statements other than statements of historical fact are “forward-looking statements” for purposes of federal and state securities laws, including: any projections or expectations of earnings, revenue, financial performance, liquidity and capital resources or other financial items; any assumptions or projections about the television broadcasting industry; any statements of our plans, strategies and objectives for our future operations, performance, liquidity and capital resources or other financial items; any statements concerning proposed new products, services or developments; any statements regarding future economic conditions or performance; any statements of belief; and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. Forward-looking statements may include the words “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “predicts,” “potential,” “continue,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates” and other similar words.

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in any of our forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ from a projection or assumption in any of our forward-looking statements. Our future financial position and results of operations, as well as any forward-looking statements, are subject to change and inherent risks and uncertainties discussed under Item 1A, “Risk Factors” located elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are made only as of the date hereof, and we do not have or undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances unless otherwise required by law.


4


PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

 

Overview

 

We are a television broadcasting and digital media company focused on the acquisition, development and operation of television stations and interactive community websites and digital media services in medium-sized markets in the United States.

 

As of December 31, 2017, we owned, operated, programmed or provided sales and other services to 170 full power television stations, including those owned by variable interest entities (“VIEs”), in 100 markets in the states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The stations are affiliates of ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, The CW, MNTV, and other broadcast television networks. As of December 31, 2017, we reached approximately 43.6 million, or 38.9%, of all U.S. television households.

 

The stations we own and operate or provide services to provide free over-the-air programming to our markets’ television viewing audiences. This programming includes (a) programs produced by networks with which the stations are affiliated; (b) programs that the stations produce; and (c) first-run and rerun syndicated programs that the stations acquire. Our television stations’ primary sources of revenue include the sale of commercial air time on our stations to local and national advertisers, revenues earned from our retransmission consent agreements with cable, satellite and other multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”) in our markets, and the sale of advertising on our websites in each of our broadcast markets where we deliver community focused content.

 

We seek to grow our revenue and operating income by increasing the audience and revenue shares of the stations we own, operate, program or provide sales and other services to, as well as through our growing portfolio of digital products and services. We strive to increase the audience share of the stations by creating a strong local broadcasting presence based on highly rated local news, local sports coverage and active community sponsorship. We seek to improve revenue share by employing and supporting a high-quality local sales force that leverages the stations’ strong local brands and community presence with local advertisers. We further improve broadcast cash flow by maintaining strict control over operating and programming costs. The benefits achieved through these initiatives are magnified in our duopoly markets by owning or providing services to stations affiliated with multiple networks, capitalizing on multiple sales forces and achieving an increased level of operational efficiency. As a result of our operational enhancements, we expect revenue from the stations we have acquired or begun providing services to in the last four years to grow faster than that of our more mature stations.

 

Our digital media businesses provide digital publishing and content management platforms, a digital video advertising platform, a social media advertising platform and other digital media solutions to media publishers and advertisers. We are focused on new technologies and growing our portfolio of digital products and services complementary to our vision of providing local news, entertainment and sports content through broadcast and digital platforms.

 

We are a Delaware corporation formed in 1996. Our principal offices are at 545 E. John Carpenter Freeway, Suite 700, Irving, TX 75062. Our telephone number is (972) 373-8800 and our website is http://www.nexstar.tv. The information contained on, or accessible through, our website is not part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and is not incorporated herein by reference.

 


5


Recent Acquisitions

 

Merger with Media General

 

On January 17, 2017, we completed our merger with Media General, Inc., a Virginia corporation (“Media General”), whereby we acquired the latter’s outstanding equity in exchange for cash and stock, plus additional consideration in the form of a non-tradeable contingent value right (“CVR”). Media General owned, operated, or serviced 78 full power television stations in 48 markets, including 10 stations owned by VIEs.

 

Upon the completion of the merger, each issued and outstanding share of common stock, no par value, of Media General immediately prior to the effective time of the merger, other than shares or other securities representing capital stock in Media General owned, directly or indirectly, by Nexstar or any subsidiary of Media General, was converted into the right to receive (i) $10.55 in cash, without interest (the “Cash Consideration”), (ii) 0.1249 of a share of Nexstar’s Class A Common Stock (the “Nexstar Common Stock”), par value $0.01 per share (the “Stock Consideration”), and (iii) one non-tradeable CVR representing the right to receive a pro rata share of the net proceeds from the disposition of Media General’s spectrum in the FCC’s recently concluded spectrum auction (the “FCC auction”), subject to and in accordance with the contingent value rights agreement governing the CVRs (the CVR, together with the Stock Consideration and the Cash Consideration, the “Merger Consideration”). The CVRs are not transferable, except in limited circumstances specified in the agreement governing the CVRs.

 

Upon the completion of the merger, each unvested Media General stock option outstanding immediately prior to the effective time became fully vested and was converted into an option to purchase Nexstar Common Stock at the same aggregate price as provided in the underlying Media General stock option, with the number of shares of Nexstar Common Stock adjusted to account for the Cash Consideration and the exchange ratio for the Stock Consideration. Additionally, the holders of Media General stock options received one CVR for each share subject to the Media General stock option immediately prior to the effective time. All other equity-based awards of Media General outstanding immediately prior to the merger vested in full and were converted into the right to receive the Merger Consideration.

 

The following table summarizes the components of the total consideration paid, payable or issued upon closing of the merger (in thousands):

 

Cash Consideration

 

$

1,376,108

 

Nexstar Common Stock issued (15,670,094 shares)

 

 

995,835

 

Reissued Nexstar Common Stock from treasury (560,316 shares)

 

 

35,608

 

Stock option replacement awards (228,438 options)

 

 

10,702

 

Repayment of Media General debt, including premium and accrued interest

 

 

1,658,135

 

Contingent consideration liability (CVR)

 

 

271,008

 

 

 

$

4,347,396

 

 

Concurrent with the closing of the merger, Nexstar sold the assets of 12 full power television stations in 12 markets, five of which were previously owned by us and seven of which were previously owned by Media General. We sold the Media General stations for a total consideration of $427.6 million and recognized a loss on disposal of $4.7 million (the “Media General Divestitures”). We sold our previously owned stations for $114.4 million and recognized gain on disposal of $62.4 million (the “Nexstar Divestitures”).

 

Transaction costs relating to the merger, including legal and professional fees and severance costs, were $52.4 million and $8.4 million during the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, respectively. These costs were expensed as incurred.

 


6


The Cash Consideration, the repayment of Media General debt, including premium and accrued interestand the transaction costs and expenses were funded through a combination of cash on hand, proceeds from the Nexstar Divestitures and the Media General Divestitures and the following debt borrowings:

 

 

$2.75 billion in senior secured Term Loan B, issued at 99.49%, due on January 17, 2024;

 

 

$51.3 million in senior secured Term Loan A, issued at 99.25%, due on June 28, 2018 and $293.9 million in senior secured Term Loan A, issued at 99.34%, due on January 17, 2022;

 

 

$175.0 million in total commitments under senior secured revolving credit facilities, of which $3.0 million was drawn at closing and due June 28, 2018. The remaining $172.0 million in unused revolving credit facilities have a maturity date of January 17, 2022; and

 

 

Proceeds from the previously issued $900.0 million 5.625% senior unsecured notes due 2024 (the “5.625% Notes”)

 

The Company incurred $48.3 million (Term Loan B) and $3.2 million (Term Loan A) in legal, professional and underwriting fees related to the debt described above. These costs, along with debt issue discounts, are amortized over the term of the related debt.

 

On July 21, 2017, the Company received $478.6 million of gross proceeds to relinquish certain spectrum of Media General in the previously concluded FCC auction. Nexstar did not dispose any of its legacy stations’ spectrum.

 

On August 28, 2017, we completed the $258.6 million initial payments of the CVR to the holders, which represents the majority of the estimated amounts due. Through December 2017, we paid $180.9 million in taxes related to the spectrum auction proceeds.

 

We assumed the $400.0 million 5.875% Senior Notes due 2022 (the “5.875% Notes”) previously issued by LIN Television Corporation (“LIN TV”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Media General, and consolidated Shield Media LLC’s (“Shield”) senior secured credit facility with an outstanding Term Loan A principal balance of $24.8 million. We also assumed Media General’s pension and postretirement obligations (included in other noncurrent liabilities).

 

For more information about the merger and related transactions, refer to Notes 3, 7 and 8 to our Consolidated Financial Statements in Part IV, Item 15 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 


7


The full power television stations acquired and consolidated by Nexstar as a result of the merger, net of divestitures, are as follows:

 

Market Rank

at Acquisition

 

Market

 

Full Power Stations

 

Primary Affiliation

Nexstar:

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

San Francisco, CA

 

KRON

 

MNTV

11

 

Tampa, FL

 

WFLA, WTTA

 

NBC, MNTV

24

 

Raleigh, NC

 

WNCN

 

CBS

25

 

Portland, OR

 

KOIN

 

CBS

27

 

Indianapolis, IN

 

WISH, WNDY

 

The CW, MNTV

29

 

Nashville, TN

 

WKRN

 

ABC

30

 

New Haven, CT

 

WTNH, WCTX

 

ABC, MNTV

32

 

Columbus, OH

 

WCMH

 

NBC

37

 

Spartanburg, SC

 

WSPA, WYCW

 

CBS, The CW

39

 

Austin, TX

 

KXAN, KBVO

 

NBC, MNTV

42

 

Portsmouth, VA

 

WAVY, WVBT

 

NBC, FOX

43

 

Harrisburg, PA

 

WHTM

 

ABC

44

 

Grand Rapids, MI

 

WOOD, WOTV

 

NBC, ABC

45

 

Birmingham, AL

 

WIAT

 

CBS

48

 

Albuquerque, NM

 

KRQE, KREZ, KBIM

 

CBS

52

 

Providence, RI

 

WPRI

 

CBS

53

 

Buffalo, NY

 

WIVB, WNLO

 

CBS, The CW

55

 

Richmond, VA

 

WRIC

 

ABC

59

 

Albany, NY

 

WTEN, WCDC

 

ABC, ABC

60

 

Mobile, AL

 

WKRG, WFNA

 

CBS, The CW

62

 

Knoxville, TN

 

WATE

 

ABC

64

 

Dayton, OH

 

WDTN

 

NBC

65

 

Honolulu, HI

 

KHON, KHAW, KAII

 

FOX, FOX, FOX

66

 

Wichita, KS

 

KSNW, KSNC, KSNG, KSNK

 

NBC

88

 

Colorado Springs, CO

 

KXRM

 

FOX

91

 

Savannah, GA

 

WSAV

 

NBC

94

 

Charleston, SC

 

WCBD

 

NBC

95

 

Jackson, MS

 

WJTV

 

CBS

98

 

Tri-Cities, TN-VA

 

WJHL

 

CBS

100

 

Greenville, NC

 

WNCT

 

CBS

102

 

Florence, SC

 

WBTW

 

CBS

109

 

Sioux Falls, SD

 

KELO, KDLO, KPLO

 

CBS

110

 

Ft. Wayne, IN

 

WANE

 

CBS

111

 

Augusta, GA

 

WJBF

 

ABC

113

 

Lansing, MI

 

WLNS

 

CBS

114

 

Springfield, MA

 

WWLP

 

NBC

115

 

Youngstown, OH

 

WKBN

 

CBS

120

 

Lafayette, LA

 

KLFY

 

CBS

127

 

Columbus, GA

 

WRBL

 

CBS

135

 

Topeka, KS

 

KSNT

 

NBC

168

 

Hattiesburg, MS

 

WHLT

 

CBS

172

 

Rapid City, SD

 

KCLO

 

CBS

VIEs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

39

 

Austin, TX

 

KNVA

 

The CW

48

 

Alburquerque, NM

 

KASY, KRWB, KWBQ

 

MNTV, The CW, The CW

52

 

Providence, RI

 

WNAC

 

FOX

59

 

Albany, NY

 

WXXA

 

FOX

64

 

Dayton, OH

 

WBDT

 

NBC

113

 

Lansing, MI

 

WLAJ

 

ABC

115

 

Youngstown, OH

 

WYTV

 

ABC

135

 

Topeka, KS

 

KTKA

 

ABC

 

As of the merger closing date, we became the primary beneficiary of variable interests in Shield, Tamer Media, LLC (“Tamer”), Vaughan Media, LLC (“Vaughan”), WNAC, LLC and 54 Broadcasting, Inc. (“54 Broadcasting”) and have consolidated these entities, including the stations they own. Refer to Item 1, “Business – Relationship with VIEs” for additional information.  


8


Other Acquisitions Completed in 2017

 

On January 31, 2017, we completed the acquisition of three CBS affiliated and one NBC affiliated full power television stations from West Virginia Media Holdings, LLC (“WVMH”) for a cash purchase price of $130.1 million. Through January 4, 2016 (first closing), we paid $65.0 million to the sellers, including the $6.5 million deposit paid upon signing the purchase agreement in November 2015. These payments were funded through a combination of cash on hand and borrowings under our revolving credit facility. On January 31, 2017 (second closing), we paid the remaining purchase price of $65.0 million, funded by cash on hand. We provided programming and sales and other services to the WVMH stations until the completion of our acquisition on January 31, 2017.

 

On March 31, 2017, Mission completed its acquisition of Parker Broadcasting of Colorado, LLC (“Parker”), the owner of television station KFQX, for a cash purchase price of $4.0 million. KFQX is the FOX affiliate in the Grand Junction, Colorado market. In connection with this transaction, Mission paid $3.2 million deposit upon signing the purchase agreement on June 13, 2014 and paid the remaining $0.8 million on March 31, 2017, both of which were funded by cash on hand. We previously provided sales and other services to Parker under a time brokerage agreement. We continue to perform these services through the same time brokerage agreement under Mission’s ownership of Parker.

 

On October 2, 2017, we completed our acquisition of certain assets of WLWC, a CW affiliated full power television station in the Providence, Rhode Island market, from OTA Broadcasting (PVD), LLC for $4.1 million in cash, funded by cash on hand.

 

Subsequent Acquisition

 

On January 16, 2018, we completed our previously announced acquisition of the outstanding equity of LKQD Technologies, Inc. (“LKQD”) for an initial cash purchase price of $90.0 million, subject to working capital and other adjustments, funded by a combination of cash on hand and borrowing from our revolving credit facility of $44.0 million. Additionally, the sellers could receive up to a maximum of $35.0 million in cash payments if certain performance targets are met during the calendar year 2019.

Subsequent Debt Prepayment

On February 1, 2018, we prepaid $20.0 million of the outstanding principal balance under our Term Loan B, funded by cash on hand.

 

On February 16, 2018, we repaid $20.0 million of the outstanding principal balance under our revolving credit facility, funded by cash on hand.

 

Operating Strategy

We seek to generate revenue and broadcast cash flow growth through the following strategies:

Develop Leading Local Franchises. Each of the stations that we own, operate, program, or provide sales and other services to creates a highly recognizable local brand, primarily through the quality of local news programming and community presence. Based on internally generated analysis, we believe that in over 76.0% of our markets in which we produce local newscasts, we rank among the top two stations in local news viewership. Strong local news typically generates higher ratings among attractive demographic profiles and enhances audience loyalty, which may result in higher ratings for programs both preceding and following the news. High ratings and strong community identity make the stations that we own, operate, program, or provide sales and other services to more attractive to local advertisers. For the year ended December 31, 2017, we earned approximately 35% of our advertising revenue from spots aired during local news programming. Currently, our stations and the stations we provide services to that produce local newscasts provide between 15 and 30 hours per week of local news programming. Extensive local sports coverage and active sponsorship of community events further differentiate us from our competitors and strengthen our community relationships and our local advertising appeal.

Invest in Digital Media. We are focused on new technologies and growing our portfolio of digital products and services. Our websites provide access to our local news and information, as well as community centric businesses and services. We delivered to audiences across all of our web sites in 2017, with 219 million unique visitors, who utilized over 4.2 billion page views. Also in 2017, our mobile platform accounted for 80% of our overall page views by year end. We also launched redesigned web sites, ready for the emerging touch oriented platforms. We have also invested in additional digital media product lines, including digital publishing and content management platforms, a digital video advertising platform, a social media advertising platform, and other digital media solutions. We are committed to serving our local markets by providing local content to both online and mobile users wherever and whenever they want.

Emphasize Local Sales. We employ a high-quality local sales force in each of our markets to increase revenue from local advertisers by capitalizing on our investment in local programming and community websites. We believe that local advertising is

9


attractive because our sales force is more effective with local advertisers, giving us a greater ability to influence this revenue source. Additionally, local advertising has historically been a more stable source of revenue than national advertising for television broadcasters. For the year ended December 31, 2017, revenue generated from local advertising represented 71.9% of our consolidated spot revenue (total of local and national advertising revenue, excluding political advertising revenue). In most of our markets, we have increased the size and quality of our local sales force. We also invest in our sales efforts by implementing comprehensive training programs and employing a sophisticated inventory tracking system to help maximize advertising rates and the amount of inventory sold in each time period.

Operate Duopoly Markets. Owning or providing services to more than one station in a given market enables us to broaden our audience share, enhance our revenue share and achieve significant operating efficiencies. Duopoly markets broaden audience share by providing programming from multiple networks with different targeted demographics. These markets increase revenue share by capitalizing on multiple sales forces. Additionally, we achieve significant operating efficiencies by consolidating physical facilities, eliminating redundant management and leveraging capital expenditures between stations. We derived approximately 61.9% of our net revenue, excluding trade and barter revenue, for the year ended December 31, 2017 from our duopoly markets.

Maintain Strict Cost Controls. We emphasize strict controls on operating and programming costs in order to increase broadcast cash flow. We continually seek to identify and implement cost savings at each of our stations and the stations we provide services to and our overall size benefits each station with respect to negotiating favorable terms with programming suppliers and other vendors. By leveraging our size and corporate management expertise, we are able to achieve economies of scale by providing programming, financial, sales and marketing support to our stations and the stations we provide services to.

Capitalize on Diverse Network Affiliations. We currently own, operate, program or provide sales and other services to a balanced portfolio of television stations with diverse network affiliations, including ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX affiliated stations which represented approximately 19%, 27%, 31% and 12%, respectively, of our 2017 combined local, national and political revenue. The networks provide these stations with quality programming and numerous sporting events such as NBA basketball, Major League baseball, NFL football, NCAA sports, PGA golf and the Olympic Games. Because network programming and ratings change frequently, the diversity of our station portfolio’s network affiliations reduces our reliance on the quality of programming from a single network.

Attract and Retain High Quality Management. We seek to attract and retain station general managers with proven track records in larger television markets by providing equity incentives not typically offered by other station operators in our markets. Most of our station general managers have been granted restricted stock units and stock options and have an average of over 20 years of experience in the television broadcasting industry.

Acquisition Strategy

We selectively pursue acquisitions of television stations where we believe we can improve revenue and cash flow through active management. When considering an acquisition, we evaluate the target audience share, revenue share, overall cost structure and proximity to our regional clusters. Additionally, we seek to acquire or enter into local service agreements with stations to create duopoly markets. We selectively pursue acquisitions of digital properties that leverage our capabilities particularly in video delivery technology and platforms and with a focus on assisting small and medium-sized business effectively reach targeted consumers and achieve effective marketing campaigns.

 

Relationship with VIEs

Through various local service agreements as of December 31, 2017, we provided sales, programming and other services to 35 full power television stations owned by consolidated VIEs and one full power television station owned by a VIE which is not consolidated. As of December 31, 2017, all of the VIEs and their stations are 100% owned by independent third parties. In compliance with FCC regulations for all the parties, the VIEs maintain complete responsibility for and control over programming, finances, personnel and operations of their stations. However, for the consolidated VIEs, we are deemed under U.S. GAAP to have controlling financial interests in these entities because of (1) the local service agreements Nexstar has with the consolidated VIEs’ stations, (2) Nexstar’s guarantee of the obligations incurred under Mission’s, Marshall Broadcasting Group, Inc.’s (“Marshall”) and Shield’s senior secured credit facilities, (3) Nexstar having power over significant activities affecting the consolidated VIEs’ economic performance, including budgeting for advertising revenue, advertising sales and, for Mission, White Knight Broadcasting (“White Knight”), Shield, Vaughan, WNAC, LLC and 54 Broadcasting, hiring and firing of sales force personnel and (4) purchase options granted by Mission, White Knight, Shield, Tamer, Vaughan, WNAC, LLC and 54 Broadcasting that permit Nexstar to acquire the assets and assume the liabilities of each these VIEs’ stations at any time, subject to FCC consent. These purchase options are freely exercisable or assignable by Nexstar without consent or approval by the VIEs. These option agreements expire on various dates between 2018 and 2027. We expect to renew these option agreements upon expiration. Therefore, these VIEs are consolidated into these financial statements.


10


The Stations

The following chart sets forth general information about the television stations (full power, low power and multicast channels) we currently own, operate, program or provide sales and other services to:

 

Market Rank(1)

Market

Full

Power

Stations

Primary

Affiliation

Low Power Stations / Multicast Channels

Other

Affiliation

Status(2)

Commercial Stations in Market(3)

FCC License Expiration Date(5)

6

DC(2)/Hagerstown, MD

WDVM

Independent

WDVM-D2, D3

Grit, Escape

O&O

(4)

10/1/2020

8

San Francisco, CA

KRON(20)

MNTV

KRON-D2, D3

Sky Link TV, getTV

O&O

17

12/1/2022

11

Phoenix, AZ

KASW

The CW

KASW-D2, D3, D4

Decades, Grit, Escape

O&O

14

10/1/2022

13

Tampa, FL

WFLA(20)

WTTA(20)

NBC

MNTV

WFLA-D2

WTTA-D2

MeTV

CoziTV

O&O

O&O

11

2/1/2021

2/1/2021

22

Portland, OR

KOIN(20)

CBS

KOIN-D2, D3

getTV, Decades

O&O

8

2/1/2023

25

Raleigh, NC

WNCN(20)

CBS

WNCN-D2, D3

AntennaTV, Justice

O&O

9

12/1/2020

27

Nashville, TN

WKRN(20)

ABC

WKRN-D2, D3

MeTV, Justice

O&O

7

8/1/2021

28

Indianapolis, IN

WISH(20)

WNDY(20)

The CW

MNTV

WISH-D2, D3

WNDY-D2

getTV, Justice

Bounce

O&O

O&O

9

8/1/2021

8/1/2021

30

Salt Lake City, UT

KTVX

KUCW

ABC

The CW

KTVX-D2, D3

KUCW-D2, D3, D4

KUWB-LD

Me-TV, Laff

Movies!,Grit, Escape

CMT

O&O

O&O

O&O

13

10/1/2022

10/1/2022

10/1/2022

32

New Haven, CT

WTNH(20)

WCTX(20)

ABC

MNTV

WTNH-D2

WCTX-D2, D3

Bounce

Grit, Justice

O&O

O&O

8

4/1/2023

4/1/2023

34

Columbus, OH

WCMH(20)

NBC

WCMH-D2, D3

MeTV, ION

O&O

5

10/1/2021

38

Spartanburg, SC

WSPA(20)

WYCW(20)

CBS

The CW

WSPA-D2, D3

WYCW-D2, D3

MeTV, ION

CBS, getTV

O&O

O&O

6

12/1/2020

12/1/2020

39

Austin, TX

KXAN(20)

KBVO(20)

KNVA(20)

NBC

MNTV

The CW

KXAN-D2, D3

 

KNVA-D2, D3

KHPB-CD

Cozi TV, ION

 

Grit, Laff

The CW

O&O

O&O

LSA(13)

O&O

7

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

40

Las Vegas, NV

KLAS

CBS

KLAS-D2, D3

MeTV, Movies

O&O

9

10/1/2022

43

Grand Rapids, MI

WOOD(20)

WOTV(20)

NBC

ABC

WOOD-D2, D3

WOTV-D2, D3, D4

WXSP-CD, D2, D3

Bounce, Laff

GetTV, Grit, Weather

MNTV, CoziTV, Escape

O&O

O&O

O&O

6

10/1/2021

10/1/2021

10/1/2021

44

Birmingham, AL

WIAT(20)

CBS

WIAT-D2, D3

Untamed Sports, Justice

O&O

9

4/1/2021

45

Harrisburg, PA

WHTM(20)

ABC

WHTM-D2, D3

ION, getTV

O&O

6

8/1/2023

46

Albuquerque, NM

KRQE(20)

KREZ(20)

KBIM(20)

KASY(20)

KRWB(20)

KWBQ(20)

CBS

CBS

CBS

MNTV

The CW

The CW

KRQE-D2

KREZ-D2

KBIM-D2

KASY-D2, D3

KRWB-D2, D3, D4

KWBQ-D2, D3, D4

FOX

FOX

FOX

Escape, getTV

Grit, Laff, ION

Grit, Laff, ION

O&O

O&O(21)

O&O(21)

LSA(11)

LSA(11)

LSA(11)

16

10/1/2022

4/1/2022

10/1/2022

10/1/2022

4/1/2021

10/1/2022

47

Portsmouth, VA

WAVY(20)

WVBT(20)

NBC

FOX

WAVY-D2, D3

Bounce, getTV

O&O

O&O

8

10/1/2020

10/1/2020

50

Memphis, TN

WATN

WLMT

ABC

The CW

WATN-D2

WLMT-D2

Laff

MeTV

O&O

O&O

6

8/1/2021

8/1/2021

52

Providence, RI

WPRI(20)

WNAC(20)

CBS

FOX

WPRI-D2, D3

WNAC-D2, D3

Bounce, getTV

MNTV, Laff

O&O

LSA(14)

6

4/1/2023

4/1/2023

53

Buffalo, NY

WIVB(20)

WNLO(20)

CBS

The CW

WNLO-D2

Bounce

O&O

O&O

8

6/1/2023

6/1/2023

54

Fresno, CA

KSEE

KGPE

NBC

CBS

KSEE-D2, D3

KGPE-D2, D3

Bounce, Grit

Escape, LATV

O&O

O&O

10

12/1/2022

12/1/2022

55

Richmond, VA

WRIC(20)

ABC

WRIC-D2, D3

ION, getTV

O&O

5

10/1/2020

57

Wilkes Barre, PA

WBRE

WYOU

NBC

CBS

WBRE-D2, D3

WYOU-D2, D3

Laff, Grit

Escape, Bounce

O&O

LSA(6)

7

8/1/2023

8/1/2023

58

Little Rock, AR

KARK

KARZ

KLRT

KASN

NBC

MNTV

FOX

The CW

KARK-D2

KARZ-D2

KLRT-D2

Laff

Bounce

Escape

O&O

O&O

LSA(6)

LSA(6)

7

(5)

6/1/2021

6/1/2021

6/1/2021

59

Mobile, AL

WKRG(20)

WFNA(20)

CBS

The CW

WKRG-D2, D3

WFNA-D2, D3

ION, MeTV

Bounce, Justice

O&O

O&O

10

4/1/2021

4/1/2021

60

Albany, NY

WTEN(20)

WCDC(20)

WXXA(20)

ABC

ABC

FOX

WTEN-D2, D3

WCDC-D2, D3

WXXA-D2, D3

getTV, Justice

getTV, Justice

Capital Betting, Laff

O&O

O&O

LSA(10)

8

6/1/2023

4/1/2023

61

Knoxville, TN

WATE(20)

ABC

WATE-D2, D3

getTV, Laff

O&O

7

8/1/2021

 

11


Market Rank(1)

Market

Full

Power

Stations

Primary

Affiliation

Low Power Stations / Multicast Channels

Other

Affiliation

Status(2)

Commercial Stations in Market(3)

FCC License Expiration Date(5)

64

Dayton, OH

WDTN(20)

WBDT(20)

NBC

The CW

WDTN-D2, D3

WBDT-D2, D3

Escape, Justice

Bounce, ION

O&O

LSA(12)

5

10/1/2021

10/1/2021

66

Honolulu, HI

KHON(20)

KHAW(20)

KAII(20)

FOX

FOX

FOX

KHON-D2, D3

The CW, getTV

O&O

O&O(22)

O&O(22)

20

2/1/2023

2/1/2023

2/1/2023

67

Wichita, KS

KSNW(20)

KSNC(20)

KSNG(20)

KSNK(20)

NBC

NBC

NBC

NBC

KSNW-D2, D3, D4

KSNC-D2

KSNG-D2

KSNK-D2

Telemundo, ION, Justice

Telemundo

Telemundo

Telemundo

O&O

O&O(23)

O&O(23)

O&O(23)

17

6/1/2022

6/1/2022

6/1/2022

6/1/2022

68

Des Moines, IA

WOI

KCWI

ABC

The CW

WOI-D2

KCWI-D2, D3

Laff

Escape, Bounce

O&O

O&O

6

2/1/2022

2/1/2022

69

Green Bay, WI

WFRV

CBS

WFRV-D2

Bounce

O&O

6

12/1/2021

70

Roanoke, VA

WFXR

WWCW

FOX

The CW

WFXR-D2, D3, D4

WWCW-D2, D3, D4

The CW, Bounce, Escape

FOX, Laff, Grit

O&O

O&O

7

10/1/2020

10/1/2020

73

Charleston, WV

WOWK

CBS

WOWK-D2, D3

Escape, Laff

O&O(19)

6

10/1/2020

75

Springfield, MO

KOLR

KOZL

CBS

MNTV

KOLR-D2, D3

KOZL-D2, D3

Laff, Grit

Escape, Bounce

LSA(6)

O&O

4

2/1/2022

2/1/2022

76

Rochester, NY

WROC

CBS

WROC-D2, D3, D4

Bounce, Laff, Escape

O&O

4

4/1/2021

80

Huntsville, AL

WZDX

FOX

WZDX-D2, D3, D4

MNTV, MeTV, Escape

O&O

5

4/1/2021

83

Shreveport, LA

KTAL

KMSS

KSHV

NBC

FOX

MNTV

KTAL-D2

 

KSHV-D2

Laff

 

Escape

O&O

LSA(8)

LSA(9)

6

8/1/2022

6/1/2021

6/1/2021

84

Brownsville, TX

KVEO

NBC

KVEO-D2, D3, D4

Estrella, Escape, Grit

O&O

11

8/1/2022

85

Syracuse, NY

WSYR

ABC

WSYR-D2, D3, D4

MeTV, Bounce, Laff

O&O

6

6/1/2023

86

Waco-Bryan, TX

KWKT

KYLE

FOX

MNTV

KWKT-D2, D3, D4

KYLE-D2, D3, D4

MNTV, Estrella, Bounce

FOX, Estrella, Laff

O&O

O&O

6

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

87

Colorado Springs, CO

KXRM(20)

FOX

KXRM-D2, D3

KXTU-LD, D2

The CW, ION

The CW, Mundo Max

O&O

O&O

5

4/1/2022

88

Champaign, IL

WCIX

WCIA

MNTV

CBS

WCIX-D2, D3, D4

WCIA-D2, D3, D4

CBS, Escape, Laff

MNTV, Bounce, Grit

O&O

O&O

8

12/1/2021

12/1/2021

90

Savannah, GA

WSAV(20)

NBC

WSAV-D2, D3

The CW, MeTV

O&O

5

4/1/2021

92

Charleston, SC

WCBD(20)

NBC

WCBD-D2, D3

The CW, ION

O&O

5

12/1/2020

93

El Paso, TX

KTSM

NBC

KTSM-D2, D3, D4

Estrella, Escape, Laff

O&O

10

8/1/2022

94

Baton Rouge, LA

WGMB

WVLA

FOX

NBC

WGMB-D2

WVLA-D2

WBRL-CD

KZUP-CD

The CW

Laff

The CW

IND

O&O

LSA(9)

O&O

O&O

4

6/1/2021

6/1/2021

6/1/2021

6/1/2021

95

Jackson, MS

WJTV(20)

CBS

WJTV-D2, D3, D4

The CW, ION, AntennaTV

O&O

5

6/1/2021

97

Burlington, VT

WFFF

WVNY

FOX

ABC

WFFF-D2, D3

WVNY-D2, D3

Escape, Bounce

Laff, Grit

O&O

LSA(6)

7

4/1/2023

4/1/2023

98

Fayetteville, AR

KFTA

KNWA

FOX

NBC

KFTA-D2, D3, D4

KNWA-D2, D3, D4

NBC, Escape, Bounce

FOX, Laff, Grit

O&O

O&O

6

6/1/2021

6/1/2021

99

Tri-Cities, TN-VA

WJHL(20)

CBS

WJHL-D2

ABC

O&O

4

8/1/2021

100

Greenville, NC

WNCT(20)

CBS

WNCT-D2, D3

The CW, getTV

O&O

6

12/1/2020

101

Florence, SC

WBTW(20)

CBS

WBTW-D2, D3, D4

MNTV, Ion, AntennaTV

O&O

5

12/1/2020

102

Quad Cities, IL

KLJB

KGCW

WHBF

FOX

The CW

CBS

KLJB-D2

KGCW-D2, D3, D4

WHBF-D2, D3, D4

MeTV

ThisTV, Laff, Bounce

The CW, Grit, Escape

LSA(8)

O&O

O&O

5

12/1/2021

12/1/2021

12/1/2021

103

Evansville, IN

WEHT

WTVW

ABC

The CW

WEHT-D2

WTVW-D2, D3

Laff

Bounce, Escape

O&O

LSA(6)

4

8/1/2021

8/1/2021

107

Altoona, PA

WTAJ

CBS

WTAJ-D2, D3

Escape, Laff

O&O

4

8/1/2023

109

Tyler-Longview, TX

KETK

KFXK

NBC

FOX

KETK-D2

KFXK-D2, D3, D4

KTPN-LD

Grit

MNTV, Escape, Laff

MNTV

O&O

LSA(9)

LSA(9)

5

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

110

Sioux Falls, SD

KELO(20)

KDLO(20)

KPLO(20)

CBS

CBS

CBS

KELO-D2, D3

KDLO-D2, D3

KPLO-D2, D3

MNTV, ION

MNTV, ION

MNTV, ION

O&O

O&O(24)

O&O(24)

11

4/1/2022

4/1/2022

4/1/2022

111

Ft. Wayne, IN

WANE(20)

CBS

WANE-D2, D3

AntennaTV, ION

O&O

4

8/1/2021

112

Augusta, GA

WJBF(20)

ABC

WJBF-D2, D3

MeTV, ION

O&O

3

4/1/2021

 

12


Market Rank(1)

Market

Full

Power

Stations

Primary

Affiliation

Low Power Stations / Multicast Channels

Other

Affiliation

Status(2)

Commercial Stations in Market(3)

FCC License Expiration Date(5)

115

Lansing, MI

WLNS(20)

WLAJ(20)

CBS

ABC

WLNS-D2, D3

WLAJ-D2, D3

getTV, ION

The CW, Justice

O&O

LSA(10)

4

10/1/2021

10/1/2021

116

Springfield, MA

WWLP(20)

NBC

WWLP-D2, D3

The CW, ION

O&O

2

4/1/2023

117

Youngstown, OH

WKBN(20)

WYTV(20)

CBS

ABC

WKBN-D2, D3

WYTV- D2, D3

WYFX-LD, D2, D3

FOX, ION

MNTV, Bounce

FOX, getTV, Laff

O&O

LSA(12)

O&O

3

10/1/2021

10/1/2021

121

Lafayette, LA

KLFY(20)

CBS

KLFY-D2, D3

getTV, ION

O&O

4

6/1/2021

122

Peoria, IL

WMBD

WYZZ

CBS

FOX

WMBD-D2, D3, D4

Bounce, Laff, Escape

O&O

LSA(15)

5

12/1/2021

12/1/2021

126

Bakersfield, CA

KGET

NBC

KGET-D2, D3, D4

KKEY-LP

The CW, Telemundo, Laff

Telemundo

O&O

O&O

4

12/1/2022

12/1/2022

127

Columbus, GA

WRBL(20)

CBS

WRBL-D2, D3

MeTV, ION

O&O

5

4/1/2021

129

La Crosse, WI

WLAX

WEUX

FOX

FOX

WLAX-D2, D3, D4

WEUX(13)-D2, D3, D4

MeTV, Laff, Grit

MeTV, Escape, Bounce

O&O

O&O(18)

6

12/1/2021

12/1/2021

131

Amarillo, TX

KAMR

KCIT

NBC

FOX

KAMR-D2, D3

KCIT-D2, D3, D4

KCPN-LP

MNTV, Laff

Grit, Escape, Bounce

MNTV

O&O

LSA(6)

LSA(6)

6

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

137

Monroe, AR

KARD

KTVE

FOX

NBC

KARD-D2, D3

KTVE-D2, D3, D4

Bounce, Grit

FOX, Laff, Escape

O&O

LSA(6)

4

6/1/2021

6/1/2021

138

Rockford, IL

WQRF

WTVO

FOX

ABC

WQRF-D2, D3

WTVO-D2, D3, D4

Bounce, Escape

MNTV, Laff, Grit

O&O

LSA(6)

3

12/1/2021

12/1/2021

139

Topeka, KS

KSNT(20)

KTKA

NBC

ABC

KSNT-D2, D3

KTKA-D2, D3

KTMJ-CD, D2, D3

FOX, ION

getTV, The CW

FOX, Escape, Justice

O&O

LSA(12)

O&O

4

6/1/2022

141

Minot-Bismarck, ND

KXMA

KXMB

KXMC

KXMD

The CW

CBS

CBS

CBS

KXMA-D2, D3, D4

KXMB-D2, D3, D4

KXMC-D2, D3, D4

KXMD-D2, D3, D4

CBS, Laff, Escape

The CW, Laff, Escape

The CW, Laff, Escape

The CW, Laff, Escape

O&O

O&O(17)

O&O

O&O(17)

13

4/1/2022

4/1/2022

4/1/2022

4/1/2022

144

Midland, TX

KMID

KPEJ

ABC

FOX

KMID-D2, D3, D4

KPEJ-D2

Laff, Escape, Grit

Estrella

O&O

LSA(8)

7

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

145

Lubbock, TX

KLBK

KAMC

CBS

ABC

KLBK-D2

KAMC-D2, D3

Laff

Escape, Bounce

O&O

LSA(6)

5

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

148

Sioux City, IA

KCAU

ABC

KCAU-D2, D3, D4

Escape, Laff, Bounce

O&O

4

2/1/2022

149

Wichita Falls, TX

KFDX

KJTL

NBC

FOX

KFDX-D2, D3

KJTL-D2, D3, D4

KJBO-LP

MNTV, Laff

Grit, Bounce, Escape

MNTV

O&O

LSA(6)

LSA(6)

4

(5)

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

150

Erie, PA

WJET

WFXP

ABC

FOX

WJET-D2, D3

WFXP-D2, D3

Laff, Escape

Grit, Bounce

O&O

LSA(6)

4

8/1/2023

8/1/2023

151

Panama City, FL

WMBB

ABC

WMBB-D2, D3, D4

MeTV, Laff, Escape

O&O

4

2/1/2021

152

Joplin, MO

KSNF

KODE

NBC

ABC

KSNF-D2, D3

KODE-D2, D3

Laff, Escape

Grit, Bounce

O&O

LSA(6)

4

2/1/2022

2/1/2022

155

Terre Haute, IN

WTWO

WAWV

NBC

ABC

WTWO-D2, D3

WAWV-D2, D3

Laff, Escape

Grit, Bounce

O&O

LSA(6)

3

8/1/2021

8/1/2021

158

Wheeling, WV

WTRF

CBS

WTRF-D2, D3, D4

MNTV, ABC, Escape

O&O(19)

2

10/1/2020

161

Binghamton, NY

WIVT

ABC

WIVT-D2, D3, D4

WBGH-CD

NBC, Laff, Escape

NBC

O&O

O&O

3

6/1/2023

6/1/2023

163

Beckley, WV

WVNS

CBS

WVNS-D2

FOX

O&O(19)

3

10/1/2020

165

Abilene, TX

KTAB

KRBC

CBS

NBC

KTAB-D2, D3

KRBC-D2, D3, D4

Telemundo, Escape

Grit, Laff, Bounce

O&O

LSA(6)

4

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

167

Billings, MT

KSVI

KHMT

ABC

FOX

KSVI-D2, D3

KHMT-D2, D3

Escape, Bounce

Grit, Laff

O&O

LSA(6)

5

4/1/2022

4/1/2022

168

Hattiesburg, MS

WHLT(20)

CBS

WHLT-D2, D3

The CW, ION

O&O

2

6/1/2021

169

Clarksburg, WV

WBOY

NBC

WBOY-D2, D3, D4

ABC, Escape, Laff

O&O(19)

3

10/1/2020

170

Rapid City, SD

KCLO(20)

CBS

KCLO-D2, D3

The CW, ION

O&O

7

4/1/2022

171

Utica, NY

WFXV

WUTR

FOX

ABC

WFXV-D2, D3

WUTR-D2, D3, D4

WPNY-LP

Escape, Laff

MNTV, Grit, Bounce

MNTV

O&O

LSA(6)

O&O

3

6/1/2023

6/1/2023

(5)

173

Dothan, AL

WDHN

ABC

WDHN-D2, D3

Escape, Laff

O&O

3

4/1/2021

 

13


Market Rank(1)

Market

Full

Power

Stations

Primary

Affiliation

Low Power Stations / Multicast Channels

Other

Affiliation

Status(2)

Commercial Stations in Market(3)

FCC License Expiration Date(5)

176

Elmira, NY

WETM

NBC

WETM-D2, D3, D4

IND, Laff, Escape

O&O

3

6/1/2023

177

Jackson, TN

WJKT

FOX

WJKT-D2, D3, D4

Escape, Laff, Grit

O&O

2

8/1/2021

178

Alexandria, LA

WNTZ

FOX

WNTZ-D2, D3, D4

Bounce, Escape, Laff

O&O

4

6/1/2021

179

Watertown, NY

WWTI

ABC

WWTI-D2, D3, D4

The CW, Laff, Escape

O&O

2

6/1/2023

180

Marquette, MI

WJMN

CBS

WJMN-D2, D3, D4

Escape, Laff, Bounce

O&O

5

10/1/2021

187

Grand Junction, CO

KREX

KREY

KFQX

CBS

CBS

FOX

KREX-D2, D3, D4

 

KFQX-D2, D3, D4

KGJT-CD

Laff, MNTV, Bounce

 

CBS, Escape, Grit

MNTV

O&O

O&O(16)

LSA(6)(7)

O&O

5

4/1/2022

4/1/2022

4/1/2022

4/1/2022

196

San Angelo, TX

KLST

KSAN

CBS

NBC

KLST-D2, D3

KSAN-D2, D3

Escape, Grit

Laff, Bounce

O&O

LSA(6)

3

8/1/2022

8/1/2022

 

(1)

Market rank refers to ranking the size of the Designated Market Area (“DMA”) in which the station is located in relation to other DMAs. Source: Investing in Television Market Report 2017 4th Edition, as published by BIA Financial Network, Inc.

(2)

O&O refers to stations that we own and operate. LSA, or local service agreement, is the general term we use to refer to a contract under which we provide services utilizing our employees to a station owned and operated by an independent third-party. Local service agreements include time brokerage agreements, shared services agreements, joint sales agreements, local marketing agreements and outsourcing agreements. For further information regarding the LSAs to which we are party, see Note 2 to our Consolidated Financial Statements in Part IV, Item 15 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

(3)

The term “commercial station” means a full power television broadcast station and excludes non-commercial stations and religious stations, cable program services or networks. Source: Investing in Television Market Report 2017 4th Edition, as published by BIA Financial Network, Inc.

(4)

Although WDVM is located within the Washington, DC DMA, its signal does not reach the entire Washington, DC metropolitan area. WDVM serves the Hagerstown, MD sub-market within the DMA. WDVM is the only commercial station licensed in the city of Hagerstown.

(5)

Application for renewal of license was submitted timely to the FCC. Under the FCC’s rules, the license expiration date is automatically extended pending review of and action on the renewal application by the FCC.

(6)

These stations are owned by Mission.

(7)

On March 31, 2017, Mission completed the acquisition of Parker Broadcasting of Colorado, LLC, the owner of KFQX.

(8)

These stations are owned by Marshall.

(9)

These stations are owned by White Knight.

(10)

These stations are owned by Shield.

(11)

These stations are owned by Tamer.

(12)

These stations are owned by Vaughan.

(13)

KNVA is owned by 54 Broadcasting.

(14)

WNAC is owned by WNAC, LLC.

(15)

WYZZ is owned by Cunningham Broadcasting Corporation.

(16)

KREY operate as satellite stations of KREX.

(17)

KXMB and KXMD operate as satellite stations of KXMC. In June 2016, KXMA became an affiliate of The CW (previously affiliated with CBS).

(18)

WEUX operates as a satellite station of WLAX.

(19)

On January 4, 2016, we completed the first closing and acquired the West Virginia stations’ assets, except certain transmission equipment, the FCC licenses and network affiliation agreements. On January 31, 2017, we completed the second and final closing of this acquisition and became the owner of the stations. Refer to Item 1, “Business–Recent Acquisitions” for additional information.  

(20)

These full power television stations and any related low power stations or multicast channels were acquired or consolidated through our merger with Media General. Refer to Item 1, “Business – Recent Acquisitions” for additional information.

(21)

KREZ and KBIM operate as satellite stations of KRQE.

(22)

KHAW and KAII operate as satellite stations of KHON.

(23)

KSNC, KSNG and KSNK operate as satellite stations of KSNW.

(24)

KDLO and KPLO operate as satellite stations of KELO.

14


Industry Background

Commercial television broadcasting began in the United States on a regular basis in the 1940s. A limited number of channels are available for over-the-air broadcasting in any one geographic area and a license to operate a television station must be granted by the FCC. All television stations in the country are grouped by The Nielsen Company, LLC, a national audience measuring service, into 210 generally recognized television markets, known as designated market areas (“DMAs”) that are ranked in size according to various metrics based upon actual or potential audience. Each DMA is an exclusive geographic area consisting of all counties in which the home-market commercial stations receive the greatest percentage of total viewing hours. Nielsen publishes data on estimated audiences for the television stations in each DMA on a quarterly basis. The estimates are expressed in terms of a “rating,” which is a station’s percentage of the total potential audience in the market, or a “share,” which is the station’s percentage of the audience actually watching television. A station’s rating in the market can be a factor in determining advertising rates.

Most television stations are affiliated with networks and receive a significant part of their programming, including prime-time hours, from networks. Whether or not a station is affiliated with one of the four major networks (NBC, CBS, FOX or ABC) has a significant impact on the composition of the station’s revenue, expenses and operations. Network programming is provided to the affiliate by the network in exchange for the payment to the network of affiliation fees and the network’s retention of a substantial majority of the advertising time during network programs. The network then sells this advertising time and retains the revenue. The affiliate retains the revenue from the remaining advertising time it sells during network programs and from advertising time it sells during non-network programs.

Broadcast television stations compete for advertising revenue primarily with other commercial broadcast television stations, cable and satellite television systems, Google, Facebook and other online media, newspapers and radio stations serving the same market. Non-commercial, religious and Spanish-language broadcasting stations in many markets also compete with commercial stations for viewers. In addition, the Internet and other leisure activities may draw viewers away from commercial television stations.

Advertising Sales

General

Television station revenue is primarily derived from the sale of local and national advertising. All network-affiliated stations are required to carry advertising sold by their networks which reduces the amount of advertising time available for sale by stations. Our stations sell the remaining advertising to be inserted in network programming and the advertising in non-network programming, retaining all of the revenue received from these sales. A national syndicated program distributor will often retain a portion of the available advertising time for programming it supplies in exchange for no fees or reduced fees charged to stations for such programming. These programming arrangements are referred to as barter programming.

Advertisers wishing to reach a national audience usually purchase time directly from the networks or advertise nationwide on a case-by-case basis. National advertisers who wish to reach a particular region or local audience often buy advertising time directly from local stations through national advertising sales representative firms. Local businesses purchase advertising time directly from the station’s local sales staff.

Advertising rates are based upon a number of factors, including:

 

a program’s popularity among the viewers that an advertiser wishes to target;

 

the number of advertisers competing for the available time;

 

the size and the demographic composition of the market served by the station;

 

the availability of alternative advertising media in the market;

 

the effectiveness of the station’s sales force;

 

development of projects, features and programs that tie advertiser messages to programming; and

 

the level of spending commitment made by the advertiser.

Advertising rates are also determined by a station’s overall ability to attract viewers in its market area, as well as the station’s ability to attract viewers among particular demographic groups that an advertiser may be targeting. Advertising revenue is positively affected by strong local economies. Conversely, declines in advertising budgets of advertisers, particularly in recessionary periods, adversely affect the broadcast industry and, as a result, may contribute to a decrease in the revenue of broadcast television stations.

15


Seasonality

Advertising revenue is positively affected by national and regional political election campaigns, and certain events such as the Olympic Games or the Super Bowl. Stations’ advertising revenue is generally highest in the second and fourth quarters of each year, due in part to increases in consumer advertising in the spring and retail advertising in the period leading up to, and including, the holiday season. In addition, advertising revenue is generally higher during even-numbered years when state, congressional and presidential elections occur and advertising is aired during the Olympic Games.

Local Sales

Local advertising time is sold by each station’s local sales staff who call upon advertising agencies and local businesses, which typically include car dealerships, retail stores and restaurants. Compared to revenue from national advertising accounts, revenue from local advertising is generally more stable and more predictable. We seek to attract new advertisers to our television stations and websites and to increase the amount of advertising time sold to existing local advertisers by relying on experienced local sales forces with strong community ties, producing news and other programming with local advertising appeal and sponsoring or co-promoting local events and activities. We place a strong emphasis on the experience of our local sales staff and maintain an on-going training program for sales personnel.

National Sales

National advertising time is sold through national sales representative firms which call upon advertising agencies, whose clients typically include automobile manufacturers and dealer groups, telecommunications companies, fast food franchisers and national retailers (some of which may advertise locally).

Compensation for Retransmission Consent

We receive compensation from cable, satellite and other MVPDs in our markets in return for our consent to the retransmission of the signals of our television stations. The revenues primarily represent payments from the MVPDs and are typically based on the number of subscribers they have. Our successful negotiations with MVPDs have created agreements that now produce meaningful sustainable revenue streams.

Network Affiliations

Except for WDVM (independent station), all of the full power television stations that we own and operate, program or provide sales and other services to as of December 31, 2017 are affiliated with a network pursuant to an affiliation agreement. The agreements with ABC, FOX, NBC and CBS are the most significant to our operations. The terms of these agreements expire as discussed below:

 

Network

Affiliations

 

Expiration Date

ABC

 

31 agreements expire in December 2022.

FOX

 

Of the 31 agreements, one(1) expired in December 2017 and has been extended pending renewal negotiations, and 30 expire in December 2019.

NBC

 

Of the 33 agreements, one expires in December 2018, 18 expire in December 2019 and 14 expire in December 2020.

CBS

 

Of the 46 agreements, one(2) expired in January 2018, two(2) expire in June 2018, nine expire in December 2018, 18 expire in August 2019, one expires in December 2019, one expires in February 2020, 10 expire in June 2020 and four expire in December 2021.

 

 

(1)

The affiliation agreement is owned by a station that we provide sales and other services. We do not consolidate this station in our financial statements due to lack of controlling financial interest.

(2)

An agreement in principal has been reached to renew these three affiliations and is pending final documentation.

 

Each affiliation agreement provides the affiliated station with the right to broadcast all programs transmitted by the network with which it is affiliated. In exchange, the network receives affiliation fees and has the right to sell a substantial majority of the advertising time during these broadcasts. We expect the network affiliation agreements listed above to be renewed upon expiration.


16


Competition

Competition in the television industry takes place on several levels: competition for audience, competition for programming and competition for advertising.

Audience. We compete for audience share specifically on the basis of program popularity. The popularity of a station’s programming has a direct effect on the advertising rates it can charge its advertisers. A portion of the daily programming on the stations that we own or provide services to is supplied by the network with which each station is affiliated. In those periods, the stations are dependent upon the performance of the network programs in attracting viewers. Stations program non-network time periods with a combination of self-produced news, public affairs and other entertainment programming, including movies and syndicated programs. The major television networks have also begun to provide their programming directly to the consumer via portable digital devices, such as tablets and cell phones, which present an additional source of competition for television broadcaster audience share. Other sources of competition for audience include home entertainment systems (such as VCRs, DVDs and DVRs), video-on-demand and pay-per-view, the Internet (including network distribution of programming through websites and mobile platforms) and gaming devices.

Although the commercial television broadcast industry historically has been dominated by the ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX television networks, other newer television networks and the growth in popularity of subscription systems, such as local cable and direct broadcast satellite (“DBS”) systems and video streaming services, which air exclusive programming not otherwise available in a market, have become significant competitors for the over-the-air television audience.

Programming. Competition for programming involves negotiating with national program distributors or syndicators that sell first-run and rerun packages of programming. Stations compete against in-market broadcast station operators for exclusive access to off-network reruns (such as Two and a Half Men) and first-run product (such as Entertainment Tonight) in their respective markets. Cable systems generally do not compete with local stations for programming, although various national cable networks from time to time have acquired programs that would have otherwise been offered to local television stations. Time Warner, Inc., Comcast Corporation, Viacom Inc., CBS Corporation, The News Corporation Limited and the Walt Disney Company each owns a television network and multiple cable networks and also owns or controls major production studios, which are the primary sources of programming for the networks. It is uncertain whether in the future such programming, which is generally subject to short-term agreements between the studios and the networks, will be moved from or to the networks. Television broadcasters also compete for non-network programming unique to the markets they serve. As such, stations strive to provide exclusive news stories and unique features such as investigative reporting and coverage of community events and to secure broadcast rights for regional and local sporting events.

Advertising. Stations compete for advertising revenue with other television stations in their respective markets and other advertising media such as newspapers, radio stations, magazines, outdoor advertising, transit advertising, yellow page directories, direct mail, MVPDs and online media (e.g. Google, Facebook, etc.). Competition for advertising dollars in the broadcasting industry occurs primarily within individual markets. Generally, a television broadcast station in a particular market does not compete with stations in other market areas.

 

The broadcasting industry is continually faced with technological change and innovation which increase the popularity of competing entertainment and communications media. Further advances in technology may increase competition for household audiences and advertisers. The increased use of digital technology by MVPDs, along with video compression techniques, will reduce the bandwidth required for television signal transmission. These technological developments are applicable to all video delivery systems, including over-the-air broadcasting, and have the potential to provide vastly expanded programming to highly targeted audiences. Reductions in the cost of creating additional channel capacity could lower entry barriers for new channels and encourage the development of increasingly specialized “niche” programming. This ability to reach very narrowly defined audiences is expected to alter the competitive dynamics for advertising expenditures. We are unable to predict the effect that these or other technological changes will have on the broadcast television industry or on the future results of our operations or the operations of the stations to which we provide services.

 


17


Federal Regulation

Television broadcasting is subject to the jurisdiction of the FCC under the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Communications Act”). The following is a brief discussion of certain (but not all) provisions of the Communications Act and the FCC’s regulations and policies that affect the business operations of television broadcast stations. Over the years, the U.S. Congress and the FCC have added, amended and deleted statutory and regulatory requirements to which station owners are subject. Some of these changes have a minimal business impact whereas others may significantly affect the business or operation of individual stations or the broadcast industry as a whole. For more information about the nature and extent of FCC regulation of television broadcast stations, you should refer to the Communications Act and the FCC’s rules, case precedent, public notices and policies.

License Grant and Renewal. The Communications Act prohibits the operation of broadcast stations except under licenses issued by the FCC. Television broadcast licenses are granted for a maximum term of eight years and are subject to renewal upon application to the FCC. The FCC is required to grant an application for license renewal if during the preceding term the station served the public interest, the licensee did not commit any serious violations of the Communications Act or the FCC’s rules, and the licensee committed no other violations of the Communications Act or the FCC’s rules which, taken together, would constitute a pattern of abuse. A majority of renewal applications are routinely granted under this standard. If a licensee fails to meet this standard the FCC may still grant renewal on terms and conditions that it deems appropriate, including a monetary forfeiture or renewal for a term less than the normal eight-year period.

After a renewal application is filed, interested parties, including members of the public, may file petitions to deny the application, to which the licensee/renewal applicant is entitled to respond. After reviewing the pleadings, if the FCC determines that there is a substantial and material question of fact whether grant of the renewal application would serve the public interest, the FCC is required to hold a hearing on the issues presented. If, after the hearing, the FCC determines that the renewal applicant has met the renewal standard, the FCC will grant the renewal application. If the licensee/renewal applicant fails to meet the renewal standard or show that there are mitigating factors entitling it to renewal subject to appropriate sanctions, the FCC can deny the renewal application. In the vast majority of cases where a petition to deny is filed against a renewal application, the FCC ultimately grants the renewal without a hearing. No competing application for authority to operate a station and replace the incumbent licensee may be filed against a renewal application.

In addition to considering rule violations in connection with a license renewal application, the FCC may sanction a station licensee for failing to observe FCC rules and policies during the license term, including the imposition of a monetary forfeiture.

Under the Communications Act, the term of a broadcast license is automatically extended during the pendency of the FCC’s processing of a timely renewal application.

Station Transfer. The Communications Act prohibits the assignment or the transfer of control of a broadcast license without prior FCC approval.

Ownership Restrictions. The Communications Act limits the extent of non-U.S. ownership of companies that own U.S. broadcast stations. Under this restriction, the holder of a U.S. broadcast license may have no more than 20% non-U.S. ownership (by vote and by equity). The Communications Act further prohibits more than 25% indirect foreign ownership or control of a licensee through a parent company if the FCC determines the public interest will be served by enforcement of such restriction. The FCC has interpreted this provision of the Communications Act to require an affirmative public interest finding before indirect foreign ownership of a broadcast licensee may exceed 25%. The FCC will entertain and authorize, on a case-by-case basis and upon a sufficient public interest showing, proposals to exceed the 25% indirect foreign ownership limit in broadcast licensees. In September 2016, the FCC adopted rules to simplify and streamline the process for requesting authority to exceed the 25% indirect foreign ownership limit and reformed the methodology that publicly traded broadcasters may use to assess their compliance with the foreign ownership restrictions.


18


The FCC also has rules which establish limits on the ownership of broadcast stations. These ownership limits apply to attributable interests in a station licensee held by an individual, corporation, partnership or other entity. In the case of corporations, officers, directors and voting stock interests of 5% or more (20% or more in the case of certain passive investors, such as insurance companies and bank trust departments) are considered attributable interests. For partnerships, all general partners and non-insulated limited partners are attributable. Limited liability companies are treated the same as partnerships. The FCC also considers attributable the holder of more than 33% of a licensee’s total assets (defined as total debt plus total equity), if that person or entity also provides over 15% of the station’s total weekly broadcast programming or has an attributable interest in another media entity in the same market which is subject to the FCC’s ownership rules. If a shareholder of Nexstar holds a voting stock interest of 5% or more (20% or more in the case of certain passive investors, such as insurance companies and bank trust departments), we must report that shareholder, its parent entities, and attributable individuals and entities of both, as attributable interest holders in Nexstar.

One of Nexstar’s directors currently serves on the board of directors of Urban One, Inc. (formerly Radio One, Inc.), which owns and operates approximately 55 radio stations in 15 markets. The FCC considers the radio stations owned by Urban One, Inc. (formerly Radio One, Inc.) as attributable to Nexstar due to this common director relationship.

Local Television Ownership (Duopoly Rule). Under the current local television ownership, or “duopoly,” rule, a single entity is allowed to own or have attributable interests in two television stations in a market if (1) the two stations do not have overlapping service areas, or (2) one of the combining stations is not ranked among the top four stations in the DMA, although the FCC will consider showings that this “top four” prohibition should not apply in a given case. The duopoly rule also allows the FCC to consider waivers to permit the ownership of a second station, where otherwise prohibited, where the second station has failed or is failing or unbuilt. The FCC reconfirmed that the duopoly rule continues to serve the public interest in its 2016 quadrennial review decision, which generally retained the rule in the form in which it had existed since 1999.  In November 2017, however, the FCC issued an order reconsidering the 2016 decision and modifying the duopoly rule to (1) eliminate the “eight voices” test (whereby the rule had previously required, in addition to the “top four” prohibition, that at least eight independently owned television stations remain in a market after a proposed combination) and (2) permit case-by-case review of proposed “top four” combinations (while generally retaining the “top four” prohibition).  These modifications took effect on February 7, 2018.  The modifications could allow Nexstar to acquire a second television station in certain markets where ownership of two television stations was not previously permitted.  The November 2017 reconsideration order remains subject to a federal court appeal.

The FCC attributes toward the local television ownership limits another in-market station when one station owner programs that station pursuant to a time brokerage or local marketing agreement, if the programmer provides more than 15% of the second station’s weekly broadcast programming. However, local marketing agreements entered into prior to November 5, 1996 are exempt attributable interests until the FCC determines otherwise. This “grandfathering,” when reviewed by the FCC, is subject to possible extension or termination.

In August 2016 the FCC completed its most recent quadrennial media ownership review and reinstated a rule that attributed another in-market station toward the local television ownership limits when one station owner sells more than 15% of the second station’s weekly advertising inventory under a JSA (this rule had been previously adopted but was vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit).  Parties to JSAs entered into prior to March 31, 2014 were permitted to continue to operate under these JSAs until September 30, 2025.  However, in its November 2017 order reconsidering the August 2016 quadrennial review decision, the FCC eliminated the JSA attribution rule in its entirety.  This elimination took effect on February 7, 2018.  As a result of this rule elimination, Nexstar’s existing JSAs with independently-owned television stations may remain in effect indefinitely, and Nexstar may enter into new JSAs without violating FCC regulations.  The November 2017 reconsideration order remains subject to a federal court appeal.

In certain markets, the Company owns and operates both full-power and low-power television broadcast stations. The FCC’s duopoly rule and policies regarding ownership of television stations in the same market apply only to full-power television stations and not low-power television stations.

In a number of markets, the Company owns two stations in compliance with the duopoly rule. We also are permitted to own two or more stations in various other markets pursuant to waivers under the FCC’s rules permitting common ownership of a “satellite” television station in a market where a licensee also owns the “primary” station.  Additionally, we are permitted to own two stations in the Quad Cities, Illinois/Iowa, Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina-Asheville, North Carolina and Hartford-New Haven, Connecticut markets pursuant to waivers allowing ownership of a second station where that station is “failing.”

In all of the markets where we have entered into local service agreements, except for five, we provide programming comprising less than 15% of the second station’s programming. In the five markets where we provide more programming to the second station—WFXP in Erie, Pennsylvania, KHMT in Billings, Montana, KFQX in Grand Junction, Colorado, KNVA in Austin, Texas and WNAC-TV in Providence, Rhode Island—the local marketing agreements were entered into prior to November 5, 1996 and are considered grandfathered. Therefore, we may continue to program these stations under the terms of these agreements until the FCC determines otherwise.

19


With respect to our other local service agreements, a previous FCC rule made a majority of our JSAs attributable, but this rule was eliminated effective February 7, 2018.  As a result, our existing JSAs are no longer attributable and may remain in effect indefinitely.  Under rules in effect both prior to and after February 7, 2018, our shared services agreements with independently owned same-market stations are non-attributable.  We may therefore retain our existing SSAs in effect indefinitely, but we must disclose them, and the FCC may in the future consider regulations with respect to such agreements.

National Television Ownership. There is no limit on the number of television stations which a party may own. However, the FCC’s rules limit the percentage of U.S. television households which a party may reach through its attributable interests in television stations to 39%. This rule originally provided that when calculating a party’s nationwide aggregate audience coverage, the ownership of an ultra-high frequency (“UHF”) station would be counted as 50% of a market’s percentage of total national audience.  In August 2016, the FCC adopted an order eliminating this “UHF discount.”  On reconsideration, however, the FCC reinstated the discount, which took effect once again in June 2017.  A petition for review of the FCC’s order reinstating the UHF discount remains pending in a federal appeals court, and Nexstar has intervened in the litigation in support of the FCC.  In December 2017, the FCC initiated a proceeding to broadly reexamine its national television ownership rule, including the percentage reach cap and the UHF discount.  Comments and reply comments in this proceeding will be filed in the first and second quarters of 2018.

The stations that Nexstar owns have a combined national audience reach of 38.9% of television households without the UHF discount.

Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule (One-to-a-Market Rule). Until recently, an FCC rule limited the extent to which a party could hold attributable interests in both television stations and radio stations in the same market. In its November 2017 order reconsidering the August 2016 quadrennial review decision, however, the FCC eliminated the radio/television cross-ownership rule in its entirety.  This elimination took effect on February 7, 2018. The November 2017 reconsideration order remains subject to a federal court appeal.  

Local Television/Newspaper Cross-Ownership Rule. Until recently, an FCC rule generally prohibited a party from having an attributable interest in a television station and a daily newspaper in the same market.  In its November 2017 order reconsidering the August 2016 quadrennial review decision, however, the FCC eliminated the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule in its entirety.  This elimination took effect on February 7, 2018.  The November 2017 reconsideration order remains subject to a federal court appeal.

 

The FCC is required to review its media ownership rules every four years to eliminate those rules it finds no longer serve the “public interest, convenience and necessity.” In August 2016, the FCC adopted a Second Report and Order (the “2016 Ownership Order”) concluding the agency’s 2010 and 2014 quadrennial reviews.  The 2016 Ownership Order (1) retained the then-existing local television ownership rule and radio/television cross-ownership rule with minor technical modifications, (2) extended the ban on common ownership of two top-four television stations in a market to network affiliation swaps, (3) retained the then-existing ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership in local markets while considering waivers and providing an exception for failed or failing entities, (4) retained the dual network rule, (5) made JSA relationships attributable interests and (6) defined a category of sharing agreements designated as SSAs between stations and required public disclosure of those SSAs (while not considering them attributable). Nexstar and other parties filed petitions seeking reconsideration of various aspects of the 2016 Ownership Order.  On November 16, 2017, the FCC adopted an order (the “Reconsideration Order”) addressing the petitions for reconsideration.  The Reconsideration Order (1) eliminated the rules prohibiting newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership and limiting television/radio cross-ownership, (2) eliminated the requirement that eight or more independently-owned television stations remain in a market for common ownership of two television stations in the market to be permissible, (3) retained the general prohibition on common ownership of two “top four” stations in a local market but provided for case-by-case review, (4) eliminated the television JSA attribution rule, and (5) retained the SSA definition and disclosure requirement for television stations.  These rule modifications took effect on February 7, 2018, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied a mandamus petition which had sought to stay their effectiveness.  The Reconsideration Order’s rule modifications (a) could allow Nexstar to acquire a second television station in certain markets where ownership of two television stations was not previously permitted, (b) allow Nexstar to acquire television stations without regard to any interests of its officers, directors or attributable shareholders in same-market radio stations or newspapers, (c) permit Nexstar’s existing JSAs with independently-owned television stations to remain in effect indefinitely, and (d) enable Nexstar to enter into new JSAs without violating FCC regulations.  The Reconsideration Order remains subject to an appeal before the Third Circuit.

 

Local Television/Cable Cross-Ownership. There is no FCC rule prohibiting common ownership of a cable television system and a television broadcast station in the same area.

 

MVPD Carriage of Local Television Signals. Broadcasters may obtain carriage of their stations’ signals on cable, satellite and other MVPDs through either mandatory carriage or through “retransmission consent.” Every three years all stations must formally elect either mandatory carriage (“must-carry” for cable distributors and “carry one-carry all” for satellite television providers) or retransmission consent. The next election must be made by October 1, 2020 and will be effective January 1, 2021. Must-carry elections require that the MVPD carry one station programming stream and related data in the station’s local market. However, MVPDs may decline a must-carry election in certain circumstances. MVPDs do not pay a fee to stations that elect mandatory carriage.

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A broadcaster that elects retransmission consent waives its mandatory carriage rights, and the broadcaster and the MVPD must negotiate in good faith for carriage of the station’s signal. Negotiated terms may include channel position, service tier carriage, carriage of multiple program streams, compensation and other consideration. If a broadcaster elects to negotiate retransmission terms, it is possible that the broadcaster and the MVPD will not reach agreement and that the MVPD will not carry the station’s signal.

 

MVPD operators are actively seeking to change the regulations under which retransmission consent is negotiated before both the U.S. Congress and the FCC in order to increase their bargaining leverage with television stations. On March 3, 2011, the FCC initiated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to reexamine its rules (i) governing the requirements for good faith negotiations between MVPDs and broadcasters, including implementing a prohibition on one station negotiating retransmission consent terms for another station under a local service agreement; (ii) for providing advance notice to consumers in the event of dispute; and (iii) to extend certain cable-only obligations to all MVPDs. The FCC also asked for comment on eliminating the network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity protection rules, which may permit MVPDs to import out-of-market television stations in certain circumstances.

 

In March 2014, the FCC amended its rules governing “good faith” retransmission consent negotiations to provide that it is a per se violation of the statutory duty to negotiate in good faith for a television broadcast station that is ranked among the top-four stations in a market (as measured by audience share) to negotiate retransmission consent jointly with another top-four station in the same market if the stations are not commonly owned.  On December 5, 2014, the U.S. Congress extended the joint negotiation prohibition to all non-commonly owned television stations in a market. Under this rule, same-market stations may not (1) delegate authority to negotiate or approve a retransmission consent agreement to another non-commonly owned station located in the same DMA or to a third-party that negotiates on behalf of another non-commonly owned station in the same DMA; or (2) if not commonly owned, facilitate or agree to facilitate coordinated negotiation of retransmission consent terms between themselves, including through the sharing of information. Accordingly, the VIEs with which we have sharing agreements must separately negotiate their respective retransmission consent agreements with MVPDs.  Concurrently with its adoption of the prohibition on certain joint retransmission consent negotiations, the FCC also adopted a further notice of proposed rulemaking which seeks additional comment on the elimination or modification of the network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules.  Comments and reply comments on the further notice were filed in 2014.

 

In addition, in the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, which was adopted and signed into law in December 2014, the U.S. Congress directed the FCC to commence a rulemaking to “review its totality of the circumstances test for good faith [retransmission consent] negotiations.”  The FCC commenced this proceeding in September 2015, and comments and reply comments were filed in 2015 and 2016.  In July 2016, the then-Chairman of the FCC publicly announced that the agency would not adopt additional rules in this proceeding; however, the proceeding remains open.

 

The FCC’s rules also govern which local television signals a satellite subscriber may receive. The U.S. Congress and the FCC have also imposed certain requirements relating to satellite distribution of local television signals to “unserved” households that do not receive a useable signal from a local network-affiliated station and to cable and satellite carriage of out-of-market signals.

 

Certain online video distributors and other over-the-top video distributors (“OTTDs”) have begun streaming broadcast programming over the Internet.  In June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an OTTD’s retransmissions of broadcast television signals without the consent of the broadcast station violate copyright holders’ exclusive right to perform their works publicly as provided under the Copyright Act of 1976, as amended (the “Copyright Act”).  In December 2014, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to interpret the term “MVPD” to encompass OTTDs that make available for purchase multiple streams of video programming distributed at a prescheduled time, and seeking comment on the effects of applying MVPD rules to such OTTDs.  Comments and reply comments were filed in 2015. Although the FCC has not classified OTTDs and MVPDs to date, several OTTDs have signed agreements for retransmission of local stations within their markets, and others are actively seeking to negotiate such agreements.

 

The Company has elected to exercise retransmission consent rights for all of its stations where it has legal rights to do so. The Company has negotiated retransmission consent agreements with the majority of MVPDs serving its markets to carry the stations’ signals and, where permitted by its network affiliation agreements, will negotiate agreements with OTTDs.  

 

Employees

As of December 31, 2017, the Company had a total of 9,113 employees, comprised of 8,360 full-time and 753 part-time employees. As of December 31, 2017, 651 of our employees were covered by collective bargaining agreements. We believe that our employee relations are satisfactory, and we have not experienced any work stoppages at any of our facilities. However, we cannot assure you that our collective bargaining agreements will be renewed in the future, or that we will not experience a prolonged labor dispute, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

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Legal Proceedings

From time to time, we are involved in litigation that arises from the ordinary operations of business, such as contractual or employment disputes or other general actions. In the event of an adverse outcome of these proceedings, we believe the resulting liabilities would not have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.

Available Information

We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC. You may read and copy any reports, statements and other information filed by us at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549-0102. Please call (800) SEC-0330 for further information on the Public Reference Room. The SEC maintains a website that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers, including us, that file electronically with the SEC. The address for the SEC’s website is http://www.sec.gov. Due to the availability of our filings on the SEC website, we do not currently make available our filings on our Internet website. Upon request, we will provide free copies of our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and any other filings with the SEC. Requests can be sent to Nexstar Media Group, Inc., Attn: Investor Relations, 545 E. John Carpenter Freeway, Suite 700, Irving, TX 75062. Additional information about us, our stations and the stations we program or provide services to can be found on our website at http://www.nexstar.tv. We do not incorporate the information contained on or accessible through our corporate web site into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 


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Item 1A.

Risk Factors

You should carefully consider the risks described below and all of the information contained in this document. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only risks and uncertainties that the Company faces. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to the Company or that the Company currently deems immaterial may also impair the Company’s business operations. If any of those risks occurs, the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations could suffer. The risks discussed below also include forward-looking statements, and the Company’s actual results may differ substantially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. See “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” for further information.

Risks Related to Our Operations

General trends in the television industry could adversely affect demand for television advertising as consumers migrate to alternative media, including the Internet, for entertainment.

Television viewing among consumers has been negatively impacted by the increasing availability of alternative media, including the Internet. As a result, in recent years demand for television advertising has been declining and demand for advertising in alternative media has been increasing, and we expect this trend to continue.

The networks have begun streaming some of their programming on the Internet and other distribution platforms simultaneously with, or in close proximity to, network programming broadcast on local television stations, including those we own or provide services to. These and other practices by the networks dilute the exclusivity and value of network programming originally broadcast by the local stations and may adversely affect the business, financial condition and results of operations of our stations. Also refer to “Risks Related to Our Industry – Intense competition in the television industry and alternative forms of media could limit our growth and profitability.”

The Company’s substantial debt could limit its ability to grow and compete.

As of December 31, 2017, the Company had $4.4 billion of debt, which represented 73.5% of the total combined capitalization.

On January 16, 2018, we borrowed $44.0 million from our revolving credit facility to partially fund our acquisition of LKQD.

On February 1, 2018, we prepaid $20.0 million of the outstanding principal balance under our Term Loan B, funded by cash on hand.

On February 16, 2018, we repaid $20.0 million of the outstanding principal balance under our revolving credit facility, funded by cash on hand.

The Company’s high level of debt could have important consequences to our business. For example, it could:

 

limit the Company’s ability to borrow additional funds or obtain additional financing in the future;

 

limit the Company’s ability to pursue acquisition opportunities;

 

expose the Company to greater interest rate risk since the interest rate on borrowings under the senior secured credit facilities is variable;

 

limit the Company’s flexibility to plan for and react to changes in our business and our industry; and

 

impair our ability to withstand a general downturn in our business and place us at a disadvantage compared to our competitors that are less leveraged.

See Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Contractual Obligations” for disclosure of the approximate aggregate amount of principal indebtedness scheduled to mature.

The Company could also incur additional debt in the future. The terms of the Company’s senior secured credit facilities, as well as the indentures governing our 6.125% senior unsecured notes (“6.125% Notes”), the 5.625% Notes and the 5.875% Notes, limit, but do not prohibit the Company from incurring substantial amounts of additional debt. To the extent the Company incurs additional debt, we would become even more susceptible to the leverage-related risks described above.

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The agreements governing the Company’s debt contain various covenants that limit management’s discretion in the operation of our business.

The terms of the Company’s senior secured credit facilities and the indentures governing our 6.125% Notes, 5.625% Notes and 5.875% Notes contain various restrictive covenants customary for arrangements of these types that restrict our ability to, among other things:

 

incur additional debt and issue preferred stock;

 

pay dividends and make other distributions;

 

make investments and other restricted payments;

 

make acquisitions;

 

merge, consolidate or transfer all or substantially all of our assets;

 

enter into sale and leaseback transactions;

 

create liens;

 

sell assets or stock of our subsidiaries; and

 

enter into transactions with affiliates.

In addition, the Company’s senior secured credit facilities require us to maintain or meet certain financial ratios, including maximum total and first-lien leverage ratios and a minimum fixed charge coverage ratio. Future financing agreements may contain similar, or even more restrictive, provisions and covenants. Because of these restrictions and covenants, management’s ability to operate our business at its discretion is limited, and we may be unable to compete effectively, pursue acquisitions or take advantage of new business opportunities, any of which could harm our business.

If we fail to comply with the restrictions in present or future financing agreements, a default may occur. A default could allow creditors to accelerate the related debt as well as any other debt to which a cross-acceleration or cross-default provision applies. A default could also allow creditors to foreclose on any collateral securing such debt.

The credit agreement governing our obligations under our senior secured credit facility contains covenants that require us to comply with certain financial ratios, including maximum total and first-lien ratios and a minimum fixed charge coverage ratio. The covenants, which are calculated on a quarterly basis, include the combined results of the Company. The credit agreements governing Mission’s, Marshall’s and Shield’s obligations under their senior secured credit facilities do not contain financial covenant ratio requirements; however, they include events of default if we do not comply with all covenants contained in the credit agreement governing our senior secured credit facility.

The Company may not be able to generate sufficient cash flow to meet its debt service requirements.

The Company’s ability to service its debt depends on its ability to generate the necessary cash flow. Generation of the necessary cash flow is partially subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond the Company’s control. The Company cannot assure you that its business will generate cash flow from operations, that future borrowings will be available to the Company under its current or any replacement credit facilities, or that it will be able to complete any necessary financings, in amounts sufficient to enable the Company to fund its operations or pay its debts and other obligations, or to fund its liquidity needs. If the Company is not able to generate sufficient cash flow to service its debt obligations, it may need to refinance or restructure its debt, sell assets, reduce or delay capital investments, or seek to raise additional capital. Additional financing may not be available in sufficient amounts, at times or on terms acceptable to the Company, or at all. If the Company is unable to meet its debt service obligations, its lenders may determine to stop making loans to the Company, and/or the Company’s lenders or other holders of its debt could accelerate and declare due all outstanding obligations due under the respective agreements, all of which could have a material adverse effect on the Company.

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The owners of the VIEs may make decisions regarding the operation of their respective stations that could reduce the amount of cash we receive under our local service agreements.

As of December 31, 2017, the VIEs are each 100% owned by independent third parties. These entities owned and operated 36 full power television stations. We have entered into local service agreements with these VIEs, pursuant to which we provide services to their stations. In return for the services we provide, we receive substantially all of the VIEs’ available cash, after satisfaction of their operating costs and any debt obligations.

On January 17, 2017, Mission, Marshall and Shield each entered into a senior secured credit agreement with Bank of America, N.A., as the administrative agent. These credit agreements refinanced the entities’ previous senior secured credit facilities. On July 19, 2017, each credit agreement was amended to lower the applicable rate portion of the interest rates by 50 basis points and to slightly extend certain maturity dates.

As of December 31, 2017, Mission’s senior secured credit facility consists of a Term Loan B with an outstanding balance of $225.7 million due January 17, 2024 and a $3.0 million revolving credit facility, of which nothing was drawn and outstanding. Marshall’s senior secured credit facility consists of a Term Loan A with an outstanding balance of $49.6 million due June 28, 2018 and a revolving credit facility with an outstanding balance of $3.0 million, also due on June 28, 2018. Shield’s senior secured credit facility consists of a Term Loan A with an outstanding balance of $23.8 million due July 19, 2022.

We guarantee full payment of all of the obligations incurred under the Mission, Marshall and Shield senior secured credit facilities in the event of their default. Mission, White Knight, Shield, Tamer, Vaughn, WNAC, LLC and 54 Broadcasting have granted purchase options that permit Nexstar to acquire the assets and assume the liabilities of each of those VIEs’ stations, subject to FCC consent. These purchase options are freely exercisable or assignable by Nexstar without consent or approval by the VIEs.

We do not own the VIEs or any of their respective television stations. However, we are deemed under U.S. GAAP to have controlling financial interests in the consolidated VIEs because of (1) the local service agreements Nexstar has with the VIEs’ stations, (2) Nexstar’s guarantee of the obligations incurred under the Mission, Marshall and Shield senior secured credit facilities, (3) Nexstar having power over significant activities affecting the VIEs’ economic performance, including budgeting for advertising revenue, advertising sales and, for Mission, White Knight, Shield, Vaughan, WNAC, LLC and 54 Broadcasting, hiring and firing of sales force personnel and (4) purchase options granted by Mission, White Knight, Shield, Tamer, Vaughn, WNAC, LLC, and 54 Broadcasting which permit Nexstar to acquire the assets and assume the liabilities of each of those VIEs’ stations, subject to FCC consent.

In compliance with FCC regulations, the VIEs maintain complete responsibility for and control over programming, finances and personnel for their respective stations. As a result, the VIEs’ boards of directors and officers can make decisions with which we disagree and which could reduce the cash flow generated by these stations and, as a consequence, the amounts we receive under our local service agreements with the VIEs. For instance, the VIEs may decide to obtain and broadcast programming which, in our opinion, would prove unpopular and/or would generate less advertising revenue.

 

The Company’s pension and postretirement benefit plans are currently underfunded. A declining stock market and lower interest rates could affect the value of its retirement plan assets and increase the Company’s postretirement obligations.

As a result of our merger with Media General, we assumed Media General’s qualified defined benefit retirement plans that cover substantially all legacy Media General employees hired before January 1, 2007. The Company also assumed the defined benefit plans of LIN TV at the time of the merger. As of December 31, 2017, these qualified retirement plans were underfunded by approximately $22.8 million. The qualified retirement plans had $381.5 million in total net assets available to pay benefits to participants enrolled in the Plans as of December 31, 2017. The Company made no Company contributions in 2017 to the legacy Media General plan.

The Company also assumed Media General’s non-contributory unfunded supplemental executive retirement and ERISA excess plans, both of which were amended and restated effective January 1, 2008, and both of which supplement the coverage available to certain legacy Media General and LIN TV executives. As of December 31, 2017, the total liability was $56.6 million. There is also an unfunded plan that provides certain health and life insurance benefits to retired legacy Media General employees who were hired prior to 1992 and a retirement medical savings account established as of January 1, 2007. Although the Company has frozen participation and benefits under all plans, two significant elements in determining the Company’s pension expense are the expected return on plan assets and the discount rate used in projecting obligations. Large declines in the stock market and lower discount rates increase the Company’s expense and may necessitate higher cash contributions to the qualified retirement plans.

 


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Uncertainties in the interpretation and application of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 could materially affect our tax obligations and effective tax rate. 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Tax Act”) was enacted on December 22, 2017, and significantly affected U.S. tax law by changing how the U.S. imposes income tax. The U.S. Department of Treasury has broad authority to issue regulations and interpretative guidance that may significantly impact how we will apply the law and impact our results of operations in the period issued.

The Tax Act requires complex computations not previously provided in U.S. tax law. As such, the application of accounting guidance for such items is currently uncertain. Further, compliance with the Tax Act and the accounting for such provisions require accumulation of information not previously required or regularly produced. As a result, we have provided a provisional estimate on the effect of the Tax Act in our financial statements. As additional regulatory guidance is issued by the applicable taxing authorities, as accounting treatment is clarified, as we perform additional analysis on the application of the law, and as we refine estimates in calculating the effect, our final analysis, which will be recorded in the period completed, may be different from our current provisional amounts, which could materially affect our tax obligations and effective tax rate.

The recording of deferred tax asset valuation allowances in the future or the impact of tax law changes on such deferred tax assets could affect our operating results.

The Company currently has significant net deferred tax assets resulting from tax credit carryforwards, net operating losses and other deductible temporary differences that are available to reduce taxable income in future periods. Based on our assessment of the Company’s deferred tax assets, we determined that as of December 31, 2017, based on projected future income, approximately $108.2 million of the Company’s deferred tax assets, net of valuation allowance, will more likely than not be realized in the future. Should we determine in the future that these assets will not be realized, the Company will be required to record a valuation allowance in connection with these deferred tax assets and the Company’s operating results would be adversely affected in the period such determination is made. In addition, tax law changes could negatively impact the Company’s deferred tax assets.

The Company’s ability to use net operating loss carry-forwards (“NOLs”) to reduce future tax payments may be limited if taxable income does not reach sufficient levels or there is a change in ownership of Nexstar, Mission, Marshall, White Knight or 54 Broadcasting.

At December 31, 2017, the Company had NOLs of approximately $145.9 million for U.S. federal tax purposes and $579.4 million for state tax purposes. These NOLs expire at varying dates through 2037. To the extent available, we intend to use these NOLs to reduce the corporate income tax liability associated with our operations. Section 382 (“Section 382”) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), generally imposes an annual limitation on the amount of NOLs that may be used to offset taxable income when a corporation has undergone significant changes in stock ownership. In general, an ownership change, as defined by Section 382, results from a transaction or series of transactions over a three-year period resulting in an ownership change of more than 50 percentage points of the outstanding stock of a company by certain stockholders or public groups, which are generally outside of our control.

The ability to use NOLs is also dependent upon the Company’s ability to generate taxable income. The NOLs could expire before the Company generates sufficient taxable income to use them. To the extent the Company’s use of NOLs is significantly limited, the Company’s income could be subject to corporate income tax earlier than it would if it were able to use NOLs, which could have a negative effect on the Company’s financial results and operations. Changes in ownership are largely beyond the Company’s control and the Company can give no assurance that it will continue to have realizable NOLs.


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The revenue generated by stations we operate or provide services to could decline substantially if they fail to maintain or renew their network affiliation agreements on favorable terms, or at all.

Due to the quality of the programming provided by the networks, stations that are affiliated with a network generally have higher ratings than unaffiliated independent stations in the same market. As a result, it is important for stations to maintain their network affiliations. Most of the stations that we operate or provide services to have network affiliation agreements. As of December 31, 2017, 31 full power television stations have primary affiliation agreements with ABC, 33 with NBC, 31 with FOX, 46 with CBS, 17 with The CW and 11 with MNTV. Each of ABC, NBC and CBS generally provides affiliated stations with up to 22 hours of prime-time programming per week, while each of FOX, MNTV and The CW provides affiliated stations with up to 15 hours of prime-time programming per week. In return, affiliated stations broadcast the respective network’s commercials during the network programming.

 

All of the network affiliation agreements of the stations that we own, operate, program or provide sales and other services to are scheduled to expire at various times through December 2020. In order to renew certain of our affiliation agreements we may be required to make cash payments to the network and to accept other material modifications of existing affiliation agreements. If any of our stations cease to maintain affiliation agreements with their networks for any reason, we would need to find alternative sources of programming, which may be less attractive to our audiences and more expensive to obtain. In addition, a loss of a specific network affiliation for a station may affect our retransmission consent payments resulting in us receiving less retransmission consent fees. Further, some of our network affiliation agreements are subject to earlier termination by the networks under specified circumstances.

For more information regarding these network affiliation agreements, see Item 1, “Business—Network Affiliations.”

 

The loss of or material reduction in retransmission consent revenues or further change in the current retransmission consent regulations could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

A significant portion of Nexstar’s revenue comes from its retransmission consent agreements with MPVDs, mainly cable and satellite television providers.  These agreements permit the MVPDs to retransmit our stations’ signals to their subscribers in exchange for the payment of compensation to us from the system operators as consideration. If we are unable to renegotiate these agreements on favorable terms, or at all, the failure to do so could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Though we are typically able to renegotiate our retransmission consent agreements with MVPDs on favorable terms, the payments due us under these agreements are customarily based on a price per subscriber of the applicable MVPD.  In recent years the subscribership of MVPDs has declined, as the growth of direct Internet streaming of video programming to televisions and mobile devices has incentivized consumers to “cut the cord” and discontinue their cable or satellite service subscriptions.  Decreasing MVPD subscribership leads to less revenue under our retransmission agreements, which ultimately could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.  Also refer to “Risks Related to Our Industry – Intense competition in the television industry and alternative forms of media could limit our growth and profitability.”

Moreover, the national television broadcast networks have taken the position that they, as the owners or licensees of certain of the programming we broadcast and provide for retransmission, are entitled to a portion of the compensation we receive from MVPDs under our retransmission consent agreements and are requiring their network affiliation agreements with us to provide for such payments. All of our affiliation agreements with the broadcast networks also include terms that limit our ability to grant retransmission consent rights both to traditional MVPDs and to so-called “virtual MVPDs," services that provide multiple video streaming channels to consumers.  The need to pay a portion of our retransmission consent revenue to our networks, and network limitations on our ability to enter into retransmission consent agreements, could materially reduce this revenue source to the Company and could have an adverse effect on its business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, MVPDs are actively seeking to change the regulations under which retransmission consent is negotiated before both the U.S. Congress and the FCC in order to increase their bargaining leverage with television stations. On March 3, 2011, the FCC initiated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to reexamine its rules (1) governing the requirements for good faith negotiations between MVPDs and broadcasters, including implementing a prohibition on one station negotiating retransmission consent terms for another station under a local service agreement; (2) for providing advance notice to consumers in the event of dispute; and (3) to extend certain cable-only obligations to all MVPDs. The FCC also asked for comment on eliminating the network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity protection rules, which may permit MVPDs to import out-of-market television stations in certain circumstances.

 

 

 

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On March 31, 2014, the FCC amended its rules governing “good faith” retransmission consent negotiations to provide that it is a per se violation of the statutory duty to negotiate in good faith for a television broadcast station that is ranked among the top-four stations in a market (as measured by audience share) to negotiate retransmission consent jointly with another top-four station in the same market if the stations are not commonly owned. On December 5, 2014, the U.S. Congress extended the joint negotiation prohibition to all non-commonly owned television stations in a market.  Under this rule, same-market stations may not (1) delegate authority to negotiate or approve a retransmission consent agreement to another non-commonly owned station located in the same DMA or to a third-party that negotiates on behalf of another non-commonly owned television station in the same DMA; or (2) if not commonly owned, facilitate or agree to facilitate coordinated negotiation of retransmission consent terms between themselves, including through the sharing of information. Accordingly, the VIEs with which we have sharing agreements must separately negotiate their respective retransmission consent agreements with MVPDs. We cannot predict what effect, if any, this requirement for separate negotiations will have on the Company’s revenues and expenses.

Concurrently with its adoption of the prohibition on certain joint retransmission consent negotiations, the FCC also adopted a further notice of proposed rulemaking which seeks additional comment on the elimination or modification of the network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules. The FCC’s prohibition on certain joint retransmission consent negotiations and its possible elimination or modification of the network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity protection rules may affect the Company’s ability to sustain its current level of retransmission consent revenues or grow such revenues in the future and could have an adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations. The Company cannot predict the resolution of the FCC’s network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity proposals, or the impact of these proposals or the FCC’s prohibition on certain joint negotiations, on its business.

In addition, in the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, which was adopted and signed into law in December 2014, the U.S. Congress directed the FCC to commence a rulemaking to “review its totality of the circumstances test for good faith [retransmission consent] negotiations.”  The FCC commenced this proceeding in September 2015, and comments and reply comments were submitted in 2015 and 2016.  We cannot predict the proceeding’s outcome or its impact on our business. In July 2016 the then-Chairman of the FCC announced that the agency would not adopt additional rules in this proceeding; however, the proceeding remains open.

Certain online video distributors and other OTTDs have begun streaming broadcast programming over the Internet.  In June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an OTTD’s retransmissions of broadcast television signals without the consent of the broadcast station violate copyright holders’ exclusive right to perform their works publicly as provided under the Copyright Act.  In December 2014, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to interpret the term “MVPD” to encompass OTTDs that make available for purchase multiple streams of video programming distributed at a prescheduled time and seeking comment on the effects of applying MVPD rules to such OTTDs.  Comments and reply comments were filed in 2015. Although the FCC has not classified OTTDs as MVPDs to date, several OTTDs have signed agreements for retransmission of local stations within their markets, and others are actively seeking to negotiate such agreements. If the FCC ultimately determines that an OTTD is not an MVPD or declines to apply certain rules governing MVPDs to OTTDs, our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

The FCC could decide not to grant renewal of the FCC license of any of the stations we operate or provide services to which would require that station to cease operations. 

Television broadcast licenses are granted for a maximum term of eight years and are subject to renewal upon application to the FCC. The FCC is required to grant an application for license renewal if, during the preceding term, the station served the public interest, the licensee did not commit any serious violations of the Communications Act or the FCC’s rules, and the licensee committed no other violations of the Communications Act or the FCC’s rules which, taken together, would constitute a pattern of abuse. A majority of renewal applications are routinely granted under this standard. If a licensee fails to meet this standard the FCC may still grant renewal on terms and conditions that it deems appropriate, including a monetary forfeiture or renewal for a term less than the normal eight-year period. However, in an extreme case, the FCC may deny a station’s license renewal application, resulting in termination of the station’s authority to broadcast. Under the Communications Act, the term of a broadcast license is automatically extended during the pendency of the FCC’s processing of a timely renewal application.  The Company expects the FCC to grant future renewal applications for its stations in due course but cannot provide any assurances that the FCC will do so.

The loss of the services of our chief executive officer could disrupt management of our business and impair the execution of our business strategies. 

We believe that our success depends upon our ability to retain the services of Perry A. Sook, our founder and President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Sook has been instrumental in determining our strategic direction and focus. The loss of Mr. Sook’s services could adversely affect our ability to manage effectively our overall operations and successfully execute current or future business strategies.


28


The Company’s growth may be limited if it is unable to implement its acquisition strategy.

The Company has achieved much of its growth through acquisitions. The Company intends to continue its growth by selectively pursuing acquisitions of television stations. The television broadcast industry is undergoing consolidation, which may reduce the number of acquisition targets and increase the purchase price of future acquisitions. Some of the Company’s competitors may have greater financial or management resources with which to pursue acquisition targets. Therefore, even if the Company is successful in identifying attractive acquisition targets, it may face considerable competition and its acquisition strategy may not be successful.

FCC rules and policies may also make it more difficult for the Company to acquire additional television stations. Television station acquisitions are subject to the approval of the FCC and, potentially, other regulatory authorities. FCC rules limit the number of television stations a company may own and define the types of local service agreements that “count” as ownership by the party providing the services. Those rules are subject to change. The need for FCC and other regulatory approvals could restrict the Company’s ability to consummate future transactions if, for example, the FCC or other government agencies believe that a proposed transaction would result in excessive concentration or other public interest detriment in a market, even if the proposed combination may otherwise comply with FCC ownership limitations. Additionally, the acquisition of Media General has significantly increased the Company’s national audience reach to a level that approaches national television ownership limits imposed by the Communications Act and FCC rules.  This may restrict future television station acquisitions by the Company and may require the Company to divest current stations in connection with any acquisition in order to comply with national television ownership limits.

 

Growing the Company’s business through acquisitions involves risks and if it is unable to manage effectively its growth, its operating results will suffer.

During the three years ended December 31, 2017, the Company acquired a total of 93 full power television stations, net of divestitures, of which 71 full power stations in 42 markets were acquired through our merger with Media General. Following these transactions, we own, operate, program or provide sales and other services to 170 full power television stations in 100 markets. To manage effectively its growth and address the increased reporting requirements and administrative demands that will result from future acquisitions, the Company will need, among other things, to continue to develop its financial and management controls and management information systems. The Company will also need to continue to identify, attract and retain highly skilled finance and management personnel. Failure to do any of these tasks in an efficient and timely manner could seriously harm its business.

There are other risks associated with growing our business through acquisitions. For example, with any past or future acquisition, there is the possibility that:

 

we may not be able to successfully reduce costs, increase advertising revenue or audience share or realize anticipated synergies and economies of scale with respect to any acquired station;

 

we may not be able to generate adequate returns on our acquisitions or investments;

 

we may encounter and fail to address risks or other problems associated with or arising from our reliance on the representations and warranties and related indemnities, if any, provided to us by the sellers of acquired companies;

 

an acquisition may increase our leverage and debt service requirements or may result in our assuming unexpected liabilities;

 

our management may be reassigned from overseeing existing operations by the need to integrate the acquired business;

 

we may experience difficulties integrating operations and systems, as well as company policies and cultures, including the operations, systems, policies and cultures of Media General;

 

we may be unable to retain and grow relationships with the acquired company’s key customers;

 

we may fail to retain and assimilate employees of the acquired business; and

 

problems may arise in entering new markets in which we have little or no experience.

The occurrence of any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, particularly during the period immediately following any acquisition.

29


FCC actions may restrict our ability to create duopolies under local service agreements or common ownership, which may harm our existing operations and impair our acquisition strategy.

In a number of our markets, we have created duopolies by entering into what we refer to as local service agreements. While these agreements take varying forms, a typical local service agreement is an agreement between two separately owned television stations serving the same market, whereby the owner of one station provides operational assistance to the other station, subject to ultimate editorial and other controls being exercised by the latter station’s owner. By operating or entering into local service agreements with same-market stations, we (and the other station) achieve significant operational efficiencies. We also broaden our audience reach and enhance our ability to capture more advertising spending in a given market.  Additionally, we achieve significant operational efficiencies by owning multiple stations in a market where FCC rules allow us to do so.

The FCC is required to review its media ownership rules every four years and eliminate those rules it finds no longer serve the “public interest, convenience and necessity.” In August 2016, the FCC adopted the 2016 Ownership Order concluding the agency’s 2010 and 2014 quadrennial reviews.  The 2016 Ownership Order (1) retained the then-existing local television ownership rule and radio/television cross-ownership rule with minor technical modifications, (2) extended the ban on common ownership of two top-four television stations in a market to network affiliation swaps, (3) retained the then-existing ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership in local markets while considering waivers and providing an exception for failed or failing entities, (4) retained the dual network rule, (5) made JSA relationships attributable interests, and (6) defined a category of sharing agreements designated as SSAs between stations and required public disclosure of those SSAs (while not considering them attributable).  

 

Nexstar and other parties filed petitions seeking reconsideration of various aspects of the 2016 Ownership Order.  On November 16, 2017, the FCC adopted its Reconsideration Order addressing the petitions for reconsideration.  The Reconsideration Order (1) eliminated the rules prohibiting newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership and limiting television/radio cross-ownership, (2) eliminated the requirement that eight or more independently-owned television stations remain in a market for common ownership of two television stations in the market to be permissible, (3) retained the general prohibition on common ownership of two “top four” stations in a local market but provided for case-by-case review, (4) eliminated the television JSA attribution rule, and (5) retained the SSA definition and disclosure requirement for television stations.  These rule modifications took effect on February 7, 2018, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied a mandamus petition which had sought to stay their effectiveness.  The Reconsideration Order remains subject to an appeal before the Third Circuit.

The 2016 Ownership Order reinstated a rule that attributed another in-market station toward the local television ownership limits when one station owner sells more than 15% of the second station’s weekly advertising inventory under a joint sales agreement (this rule had been previously adopted but was vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit).  Parties to JSAs entered into prior to March 31, 2014 were permitted to continue to operate under these JSAs until September 30, 2025.  However, in its November 2017 Reconsideration Order, the FCC eliminated the JSA attribution rule in its entirety.  This elimination took effect on February 7, 2018, although the Reconsideration Order remains subject to a federal court appeal.

On February 3, 2017, the FCC terminated in full its guidance (issued on March 12, 2014) requiring careful scrutiny of broadcast television applications which propose sharing arrangements and contingent interests.  Accordingly, the FCC will no longer evaluate whether options, loan guarantees and similar otherwise non-attributable interests create undue financial influence in transactions which also include sharing arrangements between television stations.

We cannot predict what additional rules the FCC will adopt or when they will be adopted. In addition, uncertainty about media ownership regulations and adverse economic conditions have dampened the acquisition market from time to time, and changes in the regulatory approval process may make materially more expensive, or may materially delay, the Company’s ability to close upon currently pending acquisitions or consummate further acquisitions in the future.  

The FCC may decide to terminate “grandfathered” time brokerage agreements.

The FCC attributes TBAs or LMAs to the programmer under its ownership limits if the programmer provides more than 15% of a station’s weekly broadcast programming. However, TBAs entered into prior to November 5, 1996 are exempt from attribution for now.

The FCC may review these “grandfathered” TBAs or LMAs in the future. During this review, the FCC may determine to terminate the “grandfathered” period and make all TBAs or LMAs fully attributable to the programmer. If the FCC does so, we will be required to terminate or modify our grandfathered TBAs or LMAs unless the FCC’s rules allow ownership of two stations in the applicable markets. As of December 31, 2017, we provide services under TBAs or LMAs to five television stations owned by third parties.

30


We are subject to foreign ownership limitations which limits foreign investments in us.

The Communications Act limits the extent of non-U.S. ownership of companies that own U.S. broadcast stations. Under this restriction, the holder of a U.S. broadcast license may have no more than 20% non-U.S. ownership (by vote and by equity). The Communications Act prohibits more than 25% indirect foreign ownership or control of a licensee through a parent company if the FCC determines the public interest will be served by enforcement of such restriction. The FCC has interpreted this provision to require an affirmative public interest showing before indirect foreign ownership of a broadcast licensee may exceed 25%. Therefore, certain investors may be prevented from investing in us if our foreign ownership is at or near the FCC limits.

The FCC’s multiple ownership rules may limit our ability to acquire television stations in particular markets, restricting our ability to execute our acquisition strategy.

The number of television stations we may acquire in any local market or nationwide is limited by FCC rules and may vary depending upon whether the interests in other television stations or other media properties of persons affiliated with us are attributable under FCC rules. The broadcast and certain other media interests of our officers, directors and most stockholders with 5% or greater voting power are attributable under the FCC’s rules, which may limit us from acquiring or owning television stations in particular markets while those officers, directors or stockholders are associated with us. In addition, the holder of otherwise non-attributable equity and/or debt in a licensee in excess of 33% of the total debt and equity of the licensee will be attributable where the holder is either a major program supplier to that licensee or the holder has an attributable interest in another broadcast station in the same market that is subject to the FCC’s media ownership rules.

One of Nexstar’s directors also currently serve on the board of directors of Urban One, Inc. (formerly Radio One, Inc.), which owns and operates approximately 55 radio stations in 15 markets. The FCC considers the radio stations owned by Urban One, Inc. (formerly Radio One, Inc.) as attributable to Nexstar, due to this common director relationship.

The Company has a material amount of goodwill and intangible assets, and therefore the Company could suffer additional losses due to future asset impairment charges.

As of December 31, 2017, $5.5 billion, or 73.4%, of the Company’s combined total assets consisted of goodwill and intangible assets, including FCC licenses and network affiliation agreements. The Company recorded an impairment charge of $20.0 million during the year ended December 31, 2017 attributable to its digital businesses. Of this amount, $11.5 million relates to goodwill impairment and $8.5 million relates to the impairment of finite-lived intangible assets. The Company tests goodwill and FCC licenses annually, and on an interim date if factors or indicators become apparent that would require an interim test of these assets, in accordance with accounting and disclosure requirements for goodwill and other intangible assets. The Company tests its finite-lived intangible assets whenever circumstances or indicators become apparent that the asset may not be recoverable through expected future cash flows. The methods used to evaluate the impairment of the Company’s goodwill and intangible assets would be affected by a significant reduction, or a forecast of such reductions, in operating results or cash flows at the Company’s broadcast business or at one or more of the Company’s digital businesses. Our broadcast business’ operating results and cash flows could be affected by a significant adverse change in the advertising marketplaces in which the Company’s television stations operate, the loss of network affiliations or by adverse changes to FCC ownership rules, among others, which may be beyond the Company’s control. Our digital business’ operating results and cash flows could be affected by intense competition, investment in technologies that are subject to a greater degree of obsolescence, significant reliance on third-party vendors to deliver services, rapid evolving nature and other factors. If the carrying amount of goodwill and intangible assets is revised downward due to impairment, such non-cash charge could materially affect the Company’s financial position and results of operations.

There can be no assurances concerning continuing dividend payments and any decrease or suspension of the dividend could cause our stock price to decline.

Our common stockholders are only entitled to receive the dividends declared by our board of directors. Our board of directors has declared in 2018 a total cash dividend with respect to the outstanding shares of our Class A common stock of $1.50 per share in equal quarterly installments of $0.375 per share. We expect to continue to pay quarterly cash dividends at the rate set forth in our current dividend policy. However, future cash dividends, if any, will be at the discretion of our board of directors and can be changed or discontinued at any time. Dividend determinations (including the amount of the cash dividend, the record date and date of payment) will depend upon, among other things, our future operations and earnings, targeted future acquisitions, capital requirements and surplus, general financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors as our board of directors may deem relevant. In addition, the Company’s senior secured credit facilities and the indentures governing our existing notes limit our ability to pay dividends. Given these considerations, our board of directors may increase or decrease the amount of the dividend at any time and may also decide to suspend or discontinue the payment of cash dividends in the future.

 


31


Risks Related to Our Industry

Our operating results are dependent on advertising revenue and as a result, we may be more vulnerable to economic downturns and other factors beyond our control than businesses not dependent on advertising.

We derive a majority of our revenue from the sale of advertising time on our stations and community portal websites. Our ability to sell advertising time depends on numerous factors that may be beyond our control, including:

 

the health of the economy in the local markets where our stations are located and in the nation as a whole;

 

the popularity of our station and website programming;

 

fluctuations in pricing for local and national advertising;

 

the activities of our competitors, including increased competition from other forms of advertising-based media, particularly newspapers, cable television, Internet and radio;

 

the decreased demand for political advertising in non-election years; and

 

changes in the makeup of the population in the areas where our stations are located.

Because businesses generally reduce their advertising budgets during economic recessions or downturns, the reliance upon advertising revenue makes our operating results susceptible to prevailing economic conditions. In addition, our programming may not attract sufficient targeted viewership, and we may not achieve favorable ratings. Our ratings depend partly upon unpredictable and volatile factors beyond our control, such as viewer preferences, competing programming and the availability of other entertainment activities. A shift in viewer preferences could cause our programming not to gain popularity or to decline in popularity, which could cause our advertising revenue to decline. Further, we and the programming providers upon which we rely may not be able to anticipate, and effectively react to, shifts in viewer tastes and interests in our markets.

Because a high percentage of our operating expense is fixed, a relatively small decrease in advertising revenue could have a significant negative impact on our financial results.

Our business is characterized generally by high fixed costs, primarily for debt service, broadcast rights and personnel. Other than commissions paid to our sales staff and outside sales agencies, our expenses do not vary significantly with an increase or decrease in advertising revenue. As a result, a relatively small change in advertising prices could have a disproportionate effect on our financial results. Accordingly, a minor shortfall in expected revenue could have a significant negative impact on our financial results.

Preemption of regularly scheduled programming by news coverage may affect our revenue and results of operations.

The Company may experience a loss of advertising revenue and incur additional broadcasting expenses due to preemption of our regularly scheduled programming by network coverage of a major global news event such as a war or terrorist attack or by coverage of local disasters, such as tornados and hurricanes. As a result, advertising may not be aired and the revenue for such advertising may be lost unless the station is able to run the advertising at agreed-upon times in the future. Advertisers may not agree to run such advertising in future time periods, and space may not be available for such advertising. The duration of any preemption of programming cannot be predicted if it occurs. In addition, our stations and the stations we provide services to may incur additional expenses as a result of expanded news coverage of a war or terrorist attack or local disaster. The loss of revenue and increased expenses could negatively affect our results of operations.

If we are unable to respond to changes in technology and evolving industry trends, our television businesses may not be able to compete effectively.

New technologies may adversely affect our television stations. Information delivery and programming alternatives such as cable, direct satellite-to-home services, pay-per-view, video on demand, over-the-top distribution of programming, the Internet, telephone company services, mobile devices, digital video recorders and home video and entertainment systems have fractionalized television viewing audiences and expanded the numbers and types of distribution channels for advertisers to access. Over the past decade, cable television programming services, other emerging video distribution platforms and the Internet have captured an increasing market share, while the aggregate viewership of the major television networks has declined. In addition, the expansion of cable and satellite television, digital delivery and other technological changes has increased, and may continue to increase, the competitive demand for programming. Such increased demand, together with rising production costs, may increase our programming costs or impair our ability to acquire or develop desired programming.

32


In addition, video compression techniques now in use are expected to permit greater numbers of channels to be carried within existing bandwidth. These compression techniques and other technological developments are applicable to all video delivery systems, including over-the-air broadcasting, and have the potential to provide vastly expanded programming to targeted audiences. Reduction in the cost of creating additional channel capacity could lower entry barriers for new channels and encourage the development of increasingly specialized niche programming, resulting in more audience fractionalization. This ability to reach very narrowly defined audiences may alter the competitive dynamics for advertising expenditures. We are unable to predict the effect that these and other technological changes will have on the television industry or our results of operations.

The FCC can sanction us for programming broadcast on our stations which it finds to be indecent.

The FCC may impose substantial fines, to a maximum of $325,000 per violation, on television broadcasters for the broadcast of indecent material in violation of the Communications Act and its rules. Because the Company’s programming is in large part comprised of programming provided by the networks with which the stations are affiliated, the Company does not have full control over what is broadcast on its stations and may be subject to the imposition of fines if the FCC finds such programming to be indecent.

In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a challenge to the FCC’s indecency enforcement without resolving the constitutionality of such enforcement, and the FCC thereafter requested public comment on the appropriate substance and scope of its indecency enforcement policy. The FCC has issued very few further decisions or rules in this area, and the courts may in the future have further occasion to review the FCC’s current policy or any modifications thereto. The outcomes of these proceedings could affect future FCC policies in this area and could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Intense competition in the television industry and alternative forms of media could limit our growth and profitability.

As a television broadcasting company, we face a significant level of competition, both directly and indirectly. We generally compete for our audience against all the other leisure activities in which one could choose to engage rather than watch television. Specifically, stations we own or provide services to compete for audience share, programming and advertising revenue with other television stations in their respective markets and with other advertising media, including newspapers, radio stations, cable television, DBS systems, mobile services, video streaming services and the Internet.

The entertainment and television industries are highly competitive and are undergoing a period of consolidation. Many of our current and potential competitors have greater financial, marketing, programming and broadcasting resources than we do. The markets in which we operate are also in a constant state of change arising from, among other things, technological improvements and economic and regulatory developments. Technological innovation and the resulting proliferation of television entertainment, such as cable television, wireless cable, satellite-to-home distribution services, pay-per-view, home video and entertainment systems and Internet and mobile distribution of video programming have fractionalized television viewing audiences and have subjected free over-the-air television broadcast stations to increased competition. We may not be able to compete effectively or adjust our business plans to meet changing market conditions.

Technologies used in the entertainment industry continues to evolve rapidly, leading to alternative methods for the delivery and storage of digital content. These technological advancements have driven changes in consumer behavior and have empowered consumers to seek more control over when, where and how they consume news and entertainment, including through the so-called “cutting the cord” and other consumption strategies. The networks have also begun streaming some of their programming on the Internet and other distribution platforms simultaneously with, or in close proximity to, network programming broadcast on local television stations, including those we own or provide services to. These innovations and other practices by the networks dilute the exclusivity and value of network programming originally broadcast by the local stations and may adversely affect the business, financial condition and results of operations of our stations. We are unable to predict what forms of competition will develop in the future, the extent of the competition or its possible effects on our business.

The FCC could implement regulations or the U.S. Congress could adopt legislation that might have a significant impact on the operations of the stations we own and the stations we provide services to or the television broadcasting industry as a whole.  

The FCC has open proceedings to determine whether to standardize TV stations’ reporting of programming responsive to local needs and interests; whether to modify its network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules; whether to modify its standards for “good faith” retransmission consent negotiations; and whether to broaden the definition of “MVPD” to include “over-the-top” video programming distributors.  Additionally, FCC proceedings to determine whether to modify or eliminate certain of its broadcast ownership rules are the subject of pending court appeals.

The FCC also has sought comment on whether there are alternatives to the use of DMAs to define local markets such that certain viewers whose current DMAs straddle multiple states would be provided with more in-state broadcast programming. If the FCC determines to modify the use of existing DMAs to determine a station’s local market, such change might materially alter current station operations and could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

33


The FCC also may decide to initiate other new rule-making proceedings on its own or in response to requests from outside parties, any of which might have such an impact. The U.S. Congress may also act to amend the Communications Act in a manner that could impact our stations and the stations we provide services to or the television broadcast industry in general.


34


The FCC is reallocating a portion of the spectrum available for use by television broadcasters to wireless broadband use, which could substantially impact our future operations and may reduce viewer access to our programming.

 

The FCC is in the process of repurposing a portion of the broadcast television spectrum for wireless broadband use.  Pursuant to federal legislation enacted in 2012, the FCC has conducted an incentive auction for the purpose of making additional spectrum available to meet future wireless broadband needs. Under the auction statute and rules, certain television broadcasters accepted bids from the FCC to voluntarily relinquish all or part of their spectrum in exchange for consideration, and certain wireless broadband providers and other entities submitted successful bids to acquire the relinquished television spectrum.  Over the next several years, television stations that are not relinquishing their spectrum will be “repacked” into the frequency band still remaining for television broadcast use.

 

The incentive auction commenced on March 29, 2016 and officially concluded on April 13, 2017.  Ten of Nexstar’s stations and one station owned by Vaughan accepted bids to relinquish their spectrum. Of these 11 total stations, eight will share a channel with another station, two will move to a VHF channel and one station went off the air in November 2017. The station that went off the air is not expected to have a significant impact on our future financial results because it is located in a remote rural area of the country and the Company has other stations which serve the same area. The Company derecognized the spectrum asset and liability to surrender spectrum associated with this station.  The remaining ten stations are required to cease broadcasting on their current channels (and, if applicable, implement channel sharing arrangements) on various dates through July 22, 2018, with the exception of the stations moving to VHF channels, which must vacate their current channels by September 2019 and May 2020, respectively.

 

The majority of the Company’s television stations did not accept bids to relinquish their television channels.  Of those stations, 61 full power stations owned by Nexstar and 17 full power stations owned by VIEs have been assigned to new channels in the reduced post-auction television band.  These “repacked” stations are required to construct and license the necessary technical modifications to operate on their new assigned channels and will need to cease operating on their existing channels, by deadlines which the FCC has established and which are no later than July 13, 2020. Congress has allocated up to an industry-wide total of $1.75 billion to reimburse television broadcasters and MVPDs for costs reasonably incurred due to the repack.  This fund is not available to reimburse repacking costs for stations which are surrendering their spectrum and entering into channel sharing relationships.  Broadcasters and MVPDs have submitted estimates to the FCC of their reimbursable costs. As of October 17, 2017, these costs exceeded $1.86 billion (over $100 million more than the amount authorized by Congress), and the FCC has indicated that it expects those costs to rise. Our current estimate of repack costs is $230.8 million. We cannot determine if the FCC will be able to fully reimburse our repacking costs as this is dependent on certain factors, including our ability to incur repacking costs that are equal to or less than the FCC’s allocation of funds to us and whether the FCC will have available funds to reimburse us for additional repacking costs that we previously may not have anticipated. Whether the FCC will have available funds for additional reimbursements will also depend on the repacking costs that will be incurred by other broadcasters and MVPDs that are also seeking reimbursements.

 

The reallocation of television spectrum to broadband use may be to the detriment of our investment in digital facilities, could require substantial additional investment to continue our current operations, and may require viewers to invest in additional equipment or subscription services to continue receiving broadcast television signals. We cannot predict the impact of the incentive auction and subsequent repacking on our business.

We have made investments in digital businesses.

We have invested in various digital media businesses as well as digital offerings for each of our broadcast stations. Due to intense competition, investment in technologies that are subject to a greater degree of obsolescence, historical impairment losses on our digital assets, significant reliance on third-party vendors to deliver services, limited operating history, rapid evolving nature of digital businesses and difficulties in integrating acquisitions into our operations, the actual future operating results could be volatile and negatively impact the year-to-year trends of our operations


35


Cybersecurity risks could affect the Company’s operating effectiveness.

 

The Company uses computers in substantially all aspects of its business operations. Its revenues are increasingly dependent on digital products. Such use exposes the Company to potential cyber incidents resulting from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. It is not uncommon for a company such as ours to be subjected to continuous attempted cyber-attacks or other malicious efforts to cause a cyber incident. These incidents can include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption. The results of these incidents could include, but are not limited to, business interruption, disclosure of nonpublic information, decreased advertising revenues, misstated financial data, liability for stolen assets or information, increased cybersecurity protection costs, litigation and reputational damage adversely affecting customer or investor confidence. A Cybersecurity Committee helps mitigate cybersecurity risks.  The role of the committee is to oversee cyber risk assessments, monitor applicable key risk indicators, review cybersecurity training procedures, establish cybersecurity policies and procedures, and to invest in and implement enhancements to the Company’s cybersecurity infrastructure. Investments over the past year included enhancements to monitoring systems, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems. During the past year, we experienced no cyber-attacks that were unmitigated by our cybersecurity infrastructure.

36


Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

 

Item 2.

Properties

We have office space for our corporate headquarters in Irving, TX, which is leased through 2024. Each of our markets has facilities consisting of offices, studios, sales offices and tower and transmitter sites. We own over 62% of our office and studio locations and approximately one-third of our tower and transmitter locations. The remaining properties that we utilize are leased. We consider all of our properties, together with equipment contained therein, to be adequate for our present needs. We continually evaluate our future needs and from time to time will undertake significant projects to replace or upgrade facilities.

While none of our owned or leased properties are individually material to our operations, if we were required to relocate any towers, the cost could be significant. This is because the number of sites in any geographic area that permit a tower of reasonable height to provide good coverage of the market is limited, and zoning and other land use restrictions, as well as Federal Aviation Administration and FCC regulations, limit the number of alternative locations or increase the cost of acquiring them for tower sites. See Item 1, “Business—The Stations” for a complete list of stations by market.

 

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

From time to time, the Company is involved in litigation that arises from the ordinary course of business, such as contractual or employment disputes or other general actions. In the event of an adverse outcome of these legal proceedings, the Company believes the resulting liabilities would not have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

 

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

None.


37


 

PART II

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market Prices; Record Holders and Dividends

Our Class A Common Stock trades on The NASDAQ Global Select Market (“NASDAQ”) under the symbol “NXST.”

The following were the high and low sales prices of our Class A Common Stock for the periods indicated, as reported by NASDAQ:

 

 

 

High

 

 

 

 

Low

 

 

1st Quarter 2016

$

58.46

 

 

$

34.65

 

2nd Quarter 2016

$

54.79

 

 

$

43.74

 

3rd Quarter 2016

$

58.14

 

 

$

45.70

 

4th Quarter 2016

$

67.20

 

 

$

47.00

 

1st Quarter 2017

$

73.90

 

 

$

59.90

 

2nd Quarter 2017

$

70.30

 

 

$

55.95

 

3rd Quarter 2017

$

67.45

 

 

$

56.65

 

4th Quarter 2017

$

80.45

 

 

$

58.10

 

 

As of February 28, 2018, there were approximately 17,700 shareholders of record of our Class A Common Stock, including shares held in nominee names by brokers and other institutions.

Pursuant to our current dividend policy, our board of directors declared in 2017, 2016 and 2015 total annual cash dividends of $1.20 per share, $0.96 per share and $0.76 per share, respectively, with respect to outstanding shares of our Class A common stock. The dividends were paid in equal quarterly installments.  

On February 2, 2018, our board of directors approved a 25% increase in the quarterly cash dividend to $0.375 per share of outstanding Class A Common Stock beginning with the first quarter of 2018. Dividend determinations will depend upon, among other things, our future operations and earnings, targeted future acquisitions, capital requirements and surplus, general financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors as our board of directors may deem relevant. Additionally, the Company’s senior secured credit facilities and the indentures governing its existing notes limit its ability to pay dividends. Given these considerations, our board of directors may increase or decrease the amount of dividends at any time and may also decide to suspend or discontinue the payment of cash dividends in the future.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

None.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

None.

 

Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans as of December 31, 2017

 

Plan Category

 

Number of
securities to be
issued upon
exercise of
outstanding
options

 

 

 

Weighted
average exercise
price of
outstanding
options

 

 

 

Number of securities
remaining available
for future issuance
excluding securities
reflected in column (a)

 

 

 

(a)

 

 

 

(b)

 

 

 

(c)

 

Equity compensation plans approved by security holders

 

1,960,459

 

 

$

23.48

 

 

 

1,511,813

 

Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

1,960,459

 

 

$

23.48