CINCINNATI: The 10 E.W. Scripps TV stations logged a $6.6 million profit on revenues of $66.8 million, the company said today. Those revenues were up 11 percent from last year, and profit compared to a $2.4 million loss in 1Q09.
Local revenues rose 12 percent to $39.7 million; national, 10 percent to $20.2 million; and political more than quadrupled to $840,000. The increase in local and national revenues was attributed to growth in automotive, retail and food service advertising. Spending in automotive alone rose 65 percent.
Retransmission revenues increased 35 percent to $2.7 million, while Internet revenues rose 23 percent to $1.6 million. Total station revenue growth was also sequential in the quarter--9 percent in January, 10 percent in February and 13 percent in March, Scripps said.
“We’re seeing steady improvement in the flow of advertising to television stations, with an expected boost from spending around political races later in the year,” said Rich Boehne, Scripps president and CEO. “TV advertising is much stronger than last year, and that strength is continuing.”
One area of distinctly diminishing revenues is from network compensation--less than $800,000 for 1Q10 compared to $2.1 million a year ago. E.W. Scripps has six ABC affiliates, for which its agreement with the network expired Jan. 31. Programming continues under short-term extensions while a long-term contract is negotiated.
Consolidated revenues for TV, newspapers and syndication divisions were $199 million, down 3.1 percent. Net loss was $880,000, driven by a $2.1 million restructuring charge. Excluding the charge, net income would have been $1.2 million. Net loss in 1Q09 was $221 million, driven by a $194 million impairment on the TV stations and charges related to a pension freeze and restructuring in the newspaper division.
Looking ahead, E.W. Scripps management “believes the generally improving business trends reported in the first quarter of 2010 will continue in the second quarter,” the company’s earnings release said. “The year-over-year growth in television ad revenues is expected to be in the mid-teens, and the declines in newspaper ad revenue are expected to moderate slightly.”
-- Deborah D. McAdams