Scripps Makes More on Interactive Media Than TV

E.W. Scripps Co. saw first-quarter revenues from its television station group hold nearly steady from a year ago.
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E.W. Scripps Co. saw first-quarter revenues from its television station group hold nearly steady from a year ago. For the first time, profits and revenues from interactive media surpassed the company’s broadcasting division.

The company earned $84.1 million (51 cents per share) in the quarter, up from $68.4 million (42 cents per share) a year ago.

Interactive media saw $77.5 million in revenues for the quarter ending March 31, up from $62.9 million in the same quarter of 2007. The performance tops the $76.0 million raked in by the TV division—a slight drop from $76.5 million in revenues in the year-ago quarter. The company credited the interactive growth to improved efficiency of its Shopzilla comparison shopping Web site.

The interactive segment also saw a pre-tax profit of $21.0 million, compared to a loss of $300,000 in the first quarter of 2007. The TV station group reported a $14.2 million profit for the quarter, down from $16.4 million a year ago.

The company’s Scripps Networks division, which includes such cable channels as HGTV, the Food Network, DIY Network and Great American Country, accounts for nearly half the company’s revenue. The division posted $146.6 million in pre-tax profits, a 15 percent jump from the year-ago quarter, on revenues of $310.8 million.

Newspaper revenues declines 8.3 percent to $156 million.

In addition to its cable and Internet properties, Scripps operates newspapers in 15 markets, 10 television stations and syndication giant United Media.

Executives said the company is on track to split into two publicly traded companies in the second quarter. Scripps Networks Interactive will include the company’ cable and Internet properties, and the E.W. Scripps Co. will retain the corporation’s daily and community newspapers and television stations.