Nexstar Pitches Sports on The CW, Extra Reach Via Stations (Upfronts)

 Clemson vs. NC State ACC football game on The CW .
Clemson vs. NC State ACC football game on The CW .

If upfront advertisers are looking for reach, Nexstar Media Group believes its base of local stations gives it a unique way to achieve that goal.

Michael Strober, chief revenue officer at Nexstar, told Broadcasting+Cable that even advertisers interested in the sports programming that Nexstar has added to The CW Network, can benefit from a national-local approach.

“If you care about college football, we have ACC football and you can buy that on The CW,” Strober said.  “Then you can extend that reach across all of the Nexstar affiliates on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, who all carry college football every week,” he said.

So while some debate the merits of linear versus streaming, Nexstar is offering a better way for advertisers to get closer to their customers.

“You can still be involved in the same content and you can get it on linear television. We can light up certain geographic areas if you have a big store opening or you want to do something out of an auto dealership,” he said.

Michael Strober
Michael Strober

Nexstar calls its national plus local approach total audience. That calls for a different measurement system, and Strober says Nexstar is recommending Comscore as the single source for measuring both local and national.

Comscore uses the same methodology for its local measurement as for its nation ratings, which means you can add up local viewers and national viewers.

Sports are among the most popular properties with advertisers, and Nexstar’s addition of LIV golf, ACC football and basketball, WWE NXT wrestling and NASCAR racing are bringing new advertisers to The CW.

Strober notes that The CW will have over 500 hours of sports programming by 2025, up from zero before Nexstar bought the network.

That’s helped add more than 25 new advertisers to the CW across 2023 and the first quarter of 2024.

Nexstar is also building a data-driven video product and is looking to do more live, in-market activations. It is working with EDO and Innovid to show how effective advertising on Nexstar is.

The best practices Nexstar develops for its national business will be available in local markets, Strober said.

Nexstar’s upfront slogan is “We got Next,” a play not only on the parent company’s name, but a reference to the up and comers who appear on the network, from the Xfinity drivers who will become tomorrow NASCAR stars, the NXT wrestlers who will graduate to the main event and the college athletes bound for the NFL and the NBA.

Nexstar has also remade The CW primetime lineup, broadening its audience from the target audience of young adults the CW’s superhero programming was designed for.

Also Read: The CW President Dennis Miller Talks Up Net’s Reboot and What’s Coming Next

Also in the Nexstar portfolio of up-and-comers is NewsNation, the cable channel, and The Hill, the online politics site.

Strober noted that NewsNation got the last Republican primary debate. It was simulcast on NewsNation and The CW and drew 4 million viewers, raising the network’s profile. It recently appeared in a Saturday Night Live sketch and in the final episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

“Our tagline is News for All America,” he said. “We also refer to our viewers as the moderate majority.”

Strober said NewsNation is in the market with election packages for advertisers who want to sponsor debates, election night and other political coverage on a network that’s not polarizing.

How will the market develop? Strober says it’s still pretty early, but some things appear clear.

“The linear market will be down because the supply is getting smaller,” he said. “We know that sports is something that people are going to want to continue to support and invest in, and luckily we have that.”

For Nexstar, “It’s really about bringing more and more new advertisers to the networks. It doesn’t take a lot to move the needle and I think we’re being very responsible in asking advertisers to get on board with us,” he said. “I think we have a compelling story. We are adding new capabilities and we have a growth story. We’re bringing them the things they want.”