Scripps Q1 Profits Down

E.W. Scripps in Cincinnati reported a 9 percent drop in profits in its first quarter.
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E.W. Scripps in Cincinnati reported a 9 percent drop in profits in its first quarter.

The diversified media company--which owns 10 television stations as well as several cable channels including HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network and Great American Country, several Internet search engines, and daily and community newspapers in 17 markets--logged net income of $68.5 million (42 cents per share), compared to $75.1 million (45 cents per share) in the same period a year ago. Revenue for the quarter was up 2 percent to 601.4 million, versus $589.7 million for the first quarter of 2006.

Profit for the Scripps Television Station Group was $16.4 million, compared to $22.5 million in Q1 2006 and profit for the newspaper division was $31.6 million compared to $49.9 million in the same period a year ago. Coverage of Super Bowl XL on ABC and the Winter Olympics a year ago helped increase profits in Q1 2006, a fact the company cited in its lower profit report for its television stations for Q1 2007.

Scripps Networks, which includes its cable channels, fared better, with profits up 20 percent, from $107 million in Q1 2006 to $128 million in the current quarter.

In recent years, Scripps has increased its focus on interactive media properties, particularly its Internet search businesses, uSwitch, (which it acquired a year ago), and Shopzilla. Revenues rose at those divisions, but profits were down due to "changing business conditions," which included increased competition, increased investments the company is making in Internet search technology and lower energy costs in the U.K., which have resulted in a softer switching market.

Scripps expects second quarter total revenue to be up 8 to 10 percent compared to the same period a year ago and that total revenues for the year will be up 10 to 13 percent.