Nexstar CEO Perry Sook says that the new Congress will likely leave broadcasting alone as it tackles issues other than retransmission consent and spectrum reallocation. Broadcasters, he says, should concentrate on developing mobile, a business that he says "may dwarf everything."
Sook Sanguine About Election Results
Given the results of Tuesday’s elections, Perry Sook, Nexstar Broadcasting’s CEO, says he doesn’t expect Congress to delve any deeper into broadcasting-related issues anytime soon.
“I think there are other priorities in the Congress that are probably way ahead on the batting order,” Sook said Wednesday morning during his third-quarter conference call during which Nexstar announced that its third quarter revenue rose 21% to $73.1 million (see story below).
“From my perspective, I think this election was the mandate for less government intrusion, smaller government and less spending,” he said. “It is not the political zeitgeist right now, nor is it in the national will to accomplish those things.”
Despite recent high-profile retransmission concent disputes between broadcasters and cable companies — primarily Fox and Cablevision — Sook said he believes such situations are the exceptions to the retrans negotiating system currently in place, and that the process will “continue to be free market negotiation.”
“I don’t think the system is broken” he said, adding that Nexstar has successfully negotiated renewals of all but about a dozen of its 213 retransmission agreements, and the remaining ones are in the works.
And while Sook has also spoken with federal officials about the looming possibility of a shortfall in broadband capability — and the need to address that infrastructure on a national scale — he said that, too, will likely be on Congress’s back burner for now, and that broadcasters, instead, should be focusing their efforts on building other platforms, particularly mobile.
“We have an opportunity with mobile to produce a business that may dwarf everything,” he said, adding that consumers more than the government hold the key to the industry’s future.
“The market is rapidly working to find market-based solutions that don’t really require the government’s thumbs on the scales ,” Sook said.