E.W. Scripps TV Station Revenues Fall 22 Percent

CINCINNATTI: Revenue from the E.W. Scripps television stations was $59.8 million in the third quarter, a decrease of 22 percent from the third quarter of 2008, which included the Olympics and heavy political spending.

The television division reported segment profit of $3.1 million compared with $17 million in segment profit in the year-ago quarter.

Local advertising fell 15 percent to $36 million. National was down 18 percent to $16.1 million. The decline for both was attributed to diminished spending in the automotive, financial services and retail categories.

However, Scripps (NYSE: SSP) said “year-over-year declines in local and national advertising showed sequential improvement compared with the second quarter, when local was down 26 percent and national was down 29 percent.”

Political was $1.7 million compared to $10.3 million a year ago. Other revenue, including retransmission fees, increased 44 percent to $4.2 million

Segment expenses for the station group decreased 5.4 percent to $56.7 million, compared with $60 million a year ago. Programming costs were 11 percent higher “due to contractual increases for syndicated programming in several key markets, but they were more than offset by reduced employee costs and expense savings in production and distribution,” SSP said in its earnings release.

SSP reported consolidated revenues for its TV station, newspaper and syndication divisions of $186 million, down 19 percent from a year ago. Consolidated net loss was $3.5 million or 7 cents a share, compared to a net loss of $3.1 million or 6 cents a share a year ago.

More on E.W. Scripps:
August 10, 2009: “E.W. Scripps TV Stations Post 2Q Profit”
The 10 TV stations in the E.W. Scripps stable ended the second quarter in the black.

March 20, 2009: “Scripps TV Stations Hold Steady
The 10 E.W. Scripps TV stations generated revenues of $93.4 million, up more than 2 percent over 4Q07.