Nexstar Media Group, Inc. (NXST) Q3 2020 Earnings Call Transcript @themotleyfool #stocks $NXST

We expect a mid-7 figure expense savings in 2021 as a result of the synergies, efficiencies and streamlined reporting structures resulting from this realignment and with local broadcast and digital news being the most influential and effective mediums for brands we expect to see advertisers continuing to allocate increased spending to our broadcast and digital platforms, particularly as we offer business to advertisers and brands, unparalleled 24/7 marketing opportunities across all of our screens and devices. Third quarter distribution fee revenue rose 82.6% year-over-year to $538.4 million, reflecting a full quarter benefit of the retrans consent synergies and from last year’s Tribune Media transaction, our renewal of 2019 retransmission consent agreements representing approximately 70% of our subscriber base and MVPD and OTT subscriber counts, consistent with our expectations. With approximately 18% of our subscriber base left to renew and reprice this year, continued growth from this source is projected for the balance of 2020 and beyond. I’ll remind everyone that more than 50% of our annual adjusted EBITDA is expected now to be derived from contractual distribution fee and equity income distributions. Nexstar has solid visibility into our contractual distribution economics through December 2022. As in addition to the 2019 and ’20 multiyear retrans consent agreements that we’re renewing, which total approximately 88% of our subscribers. We also have the bulk of our network affiliation contracts with CBS, Fox and NBC under new long-term agreements, which were completed in the back half of last year.

As a result, over 80% of our big four affiliations are contracted through December 31, ’21, and over 70% of our big four affiliations are contracted through December 31, 2022. With our focus on generating free cash flow, we remain committed to actively managing our capital structure, our cost of capital and liquidity position to provide the financial flexibility to support our business and enhance our shareholder returns. During the first nine months of 2020, we allocated approximately $906.9 million toward debt reduction, opportunistic share repurchases and cash dividends. Additionally, Nexstar maintains a strong balance sheet, including $409.9 million in cash at September 30, with access to approximately $200 million under our revolving credit facilities. With record year-to-date free cash flow, historically low LIBOR rates, contractual distribution fee revenues and record political revenue, we remain highly confident in our ability to maintain our liquidity position and path toward further deleveraging. Our growth to-date in 2020 reflects strong foundation of our assets, our operations and our financial structure and the adaptability of our teams coast-to-coast to take immediate actions to offset, and in many cases, overcome the economic impact of the pandemic. We implemented a range of cost-cutting initiatives, which resulted in third quarter operating and corporate expense savings in excess of $25 million from budgeted levels, and that totals now over $70 million year-to-date with additional fourth quarter operating and corporate expense savings in the area of $10 million.

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