E.W. Scripps TV Stations Post 2Q Profit

CINCINNATTI: The 10 TV stations in the E.W. Scripps stable ended the second quarter in the black. The TV segment reported a $4.8 million profit on revenues of $61.1 million for the quarter ending June 30. During the same period a year ago, the stations generated a profit of $18.3 million on revenues of $80.5 million.

Local advertising fell 26 percent to $37.3 million
National was down 29 percent to $16.9 million
Other revenues, including, retransmission fees, rose 41 percent to $6.5 million
Political totaled $333,000 compared to $1.6 million in the 2008 quarter.

E.W. Scripps (NYSE: SSP) attributed the decline in the local and national revenues to reduced spending in the automotive, financial services and retail categories. The absence of political advertising is being felt across the industry.

“As is common for this stage of the election cycle, there was virtually no political spending in the second quarter of 2009, compared with the year-ago period that included primaries at the local, state and national levels,” Scripps earnings release stated.

Cash expenses for the station group decreased 10 percent to $56.2 million, compared with $62.2 million a year ago. Programming costs were 14 percent higher on syndication contracts in key markets. This was offset by “reduced employee costs and expenses for production and distribution,” Scripps said.

Scripps reported consolidated revenues of $194 million, down 23 percent from 2Q08. Net income was $2.3 million, or 4 cents a share, compared to a net loss of $608 million a year ago, when SSP took non-cash charges totaling $483 million related to its newspaper business. Long-term debt as of June 30 was $73.1 million; cash and short term investments totaled $41.9 million.

Shares of SSP were boosted by the company’s results, from around $5.50 late Friday to $7.76 today.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

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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. Net income was $31.1 million, up more than one percent over the comparable period. For the full year, TV revenues were flat at around $327 million. Net income fell 4 percent to $80.6 million.