"We're playing a game of chicken to see who blinks first," Perry Sook told those attending his presentation at the UBS Leveraged Finance Conference in Las Vegas, Nev., May 12.
The Nexstar CEO broke little new ground in the presentation, patting himself on the back for his foresight in structuring the company's last deals for retransmission rights for two years instead of the usual three. This, he said, enabled Nexstar to test its proposition that cable companies should be made to pay for over-the-air broadcast stations.
If they don't, he added, "Cable operators will either adapt or they will have a decidedly inferior offering to their customers."
Cable One and Cox have seen a 15 to 20 percent loss to their customer base in Joplin and the Texas and Louisiana communities in which Nexstar has pulled its stations from cable lineups, Sook said.
"We have been a boon to satellite operators and satellite companies are paying us."
Sook said some advertisers stayed away from the Nexstar (and Mission) stations initially to see what would happen, but when the February ratings came out, and they did not drop much in Joplin or the Texas stations " and "actually increased" in Shreveport, La., the advertisers began coming back.
Sook's statements seem to be at odds with the Nielsen ratings printed in the March 25 Turner Report, which showed Nexstar's KSNF and Mission Broadcasting's KODE getting clobbered by KOAM. If that was staying about the same then those stations must have been particularly low during the November 2004 sweeps period.