Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

The NEXT STAR is here! How does this company maximize content, reach, and consumer digital usage in different platforms? [Monday: Marketing Marvels]

May 24, 2021

Media is a lot of things.

It can be broadcast media, print media, out of home (OOH) media, the Internet, or any other medium that can be used to deliver information to the public.

… but let’s say your company is the media, or you’re someone involved in the media industry.

What will you do to enhance the SYNERGY of your brand and reach more audiences across different platforms?

For one company, it has something to do with…

Combining two primary subsidiaries into one HUGE operating subsidiary!

Nexstar Media Group, Inc. is America’s largest local television and media company with 198 stations in 116 markets across the globe.

In the US alone, the company caters to around 62% of television households and a growing digital media operation.

Some TV stations under Nexstar include:

  • NewsNation
  • Antenna TV
  • WGN 720
  • Food Channel
  • Telemundo

Nexstar’s platform delivers local content, network programming, and local advertising opportunities for other brands and businesses across all screens and devices.

One of the things that helped the company distribute local content across multiple platforms in 2020

The strategic operational realignment that led to the combination of Nexstar Digital LLC and Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.!

Nexstar Digital LLC + Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. = Nexstar Inc.!

Under the realignment, the company’s 3 primary businesses―broadcast, network, and digital―became main operating divisions under the Nexstar Inc. umbrella.

The move also enabled Nexstar’s leadership team in content production to align with broadcast management teams and digital experts to maximize content, reach, and consumer digital usage in different platforms.

According to Thomas Carter, Nexstar Media Group’s President, CEO, and CFO:

“The operational realignment we are announcing today will accelerate Nexstar’s growth by leveraging our leading local content and positioning the Company to become an even more nimble and competitive organization, thereby creating new value for shareholders. In addition to realizing operating expense efficiencies, by centralizing operations into a single primary operating entity, we will strengthen our focus on distributing the content consumers want most, delivered the way they prefer to consume it, which we believe will drive near and long-term operating results improvements.”

Take note of what Carter said:

They want to strengthen focus on distributing the types of content that consumers want most!

Aside from that, Nexstar is also helping other advertisers promote their brands across different platforms.

How?

In the same year (2020), the company shifted its advertising sales from a ratings-based measurement to a cost-per-impression model!

[Cost-Per-Impression: Refers to the cost of advertising campaigns where advertisers pay each time an ad is displayed per 1,000 impressions.]

This was because Nexstar believes impressions provide more qualitative data about consumers and more accurately reflect the total number of people watching a particular program or commercial.

Thanks to this shift, advertisers will gain more “verified, aggregated, and unduplicated” audience measurement metrics across Nexstar’s broadcasting, digital, mobile, and video streaming platforms.

As stated by Tim Busch, President of the former separate subsidiary, Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.:

“This strategic move represents the next step in the natural evolution of audience measurement. We have been analyzing this transition for the last year, educating and training our sales teams and preparing to go to market with a CPM-based ad sales model.

Our sales force will be able to talk to all advertisers—big or small, national or local—in an informed, fact-based manner about maximizing the reach and effectiveness of their spending across every available media channel and every viewer will be counted, no matter where or when they watch. In addition, advertisers will be able to universally target their customers regardless of the distribution platform and monitor the results through unduplicated audience measurement.”

Talk about not only expanding Nexstar’s reach but also helping other brands and businesses connect with their target audience!

… and just when you thought that’s all that there was in Nexstar’s 2020 highlights…

You’re wrong.

There’s one more interesting thing that happened to the company that year:

Nexstar won the Ad Council’s 2020 Catalyst Award!

The Catalyst Award recognizes communications companies that create strategic programs to advance meaningful social change.

Nexstar’s award-winning entry?

The “Project Roadblock 2020” Campaign!

Project Roadblock is a multiplatform drunk driving prevention campaign exclusive to local broadcast television stations and is the largest annual station-supported initiative of a PSA (public service announcement) campaign.

Sponsored by nonprofit trade association TVB and the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the campaign highlights the dangers of drinking and driving at the same time, subsequently motivating consumers to stop driving “buzzed.”

According to Nexstar’s report about the campaign, Project Roadblock garnered a 100% station participation rate across 114 markets.

What’s more?

The campaign generated over 1 million media impressions in just 6 days!

This was what Ad Council’s President and CEO, Lisa Sherman said regarding the success of Nexstar’s “Project Roadblock” campaign:

“Nexstar’s Project Roadblock has been extraordinary and they’re highly deserving of this year’s Catalyst Award. Nexstar’s dedication to making sure people stay safe on the road continues to save lives, and we look forward to their support in the years to come.”

In the past five years, Nexstar Media Group, Inc. has recorded revenues of

  • USD 1.1 billion in 2016
  • USD 2.4 billion in 2017
  • USD 2.8 billion in 2018
  • USD 3.0 billion in 2019
  • USD 4.5 billion in 2020

Clearly, being able to record a higher revenue in 2020 shows the positive impacts of Nexstar’s strategic realignment, shift in advertising model, and the “Project Roadblock” campaign.

Nexstar Media Group, Inc.’s Earning Power: Valens Research vs. As-reported numbers

Nexstar Media Group, Inc. (NXST:USA) makes for a great case study that we come back to regularly. One great reason?

The company has proven itself to be a better earning power generator than investors might think.

So, how well has NXST been growing its business in the past years?

The research doesn’t lie—nor do the results. Earning power (the blue bars) continues to show results higher on average than what traditional databases show.

The blue bars in the chart above represent NXST’s earning power (Uniform Return On Assets). Historically, NXST has generally seen improving profitability. After expanding from 6% in 2005 to 12% in 2008, Uniform ROA fell to a trough of 6% in 2009, amidst recessionary headwinds, before rebounding to a peak of 21% in 2018. Then, Uniform ROA collapsed to 15% levels in 2019-2020.

The global ROA is just 6%.

The orange bars are the company’s as-reported financial information. If you relied on these numbers, you will see a company with understated profitability. As-reported ROA (return on assets, a measure of earning power) only ranged from 2% to 8% in the past sixteen years. Its ROA in 2020 was only at 6%, which is more than two times lower than its Uniform ROA in 2020.

That’s what you’ll see in Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, and most other databases.

The company’s stock price also performed better than the rest of the stock market over the decade, which we can see in the blue line in the chart below. Its returns have been well above the market.

The numbers show that NXST has been doing well and making a profit.

From a single station in 1996, Nexstar has grown to become America’s largest local television and media company. Its record of long-term growth reflects its commitment to “delivering exceptional service to communities and outstanding results for advertisers.”

The company’s leading portfolio of digital products and services deliver the power of digital content publishing, marketing, and video advertising.

Nexstar also continues to diversify and expand its offerings with complementary technologies and capabilities including native advertising, social media, ad ops, design, and development.

To sum all these things up:

With a commitment to professional excellence and digital marketing, Nexstar assures audiences that it will continue to deliver “exceptional services to the communities where [it] operates.”

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Monday Marketing Marvels”

Too often, industry experts and the marketing press sing the praises of some company’s marketing strategy.

…Only for the audience to later find out that their product was a flop, or worse, that the company went bankrupt.

The true ROI in marketing can’t be separated from the business as a whole.

What good is a marketing case study if one can’t prove that the company’s efforts actually paid off?

At the end of the day, either the entire business is successful or it isn’t. And the role of marketing is always paramount to that success.

Every Monday, we publish a case study that highlights the world’s greatest marketing strategies.

However, the difference between our case studies and the numerous ones out there, is that we will always make certain that the firm really did generate and demonstrate earning power worthy of study in the first place (compliments of Valens Research’s finance group).

By looking at the true earnings of a company, we can now rely on those successful businesses to get tips and insights on what they did right.

We’ll also study the greatest marketing fails and analyze what they did wrong, or what they needed to improve on. We all make our mistakes, but better we learn from others’ mistakes—and earlier, rather than later.

Hope you found this week’s marketing marvel interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next week’s Monday Marketing Marvels!

Cheers,

Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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