Scripps TV Revenues Rise on Auto Power

Affiliate negotiations with ABC continue
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CINCINNATI: The rescue of the automobile industry reverberated at E.W. Scripps Co.’s 10 TV stations in the second quarter. The 10 stations reported revenues of $74.8 million, up 22 percent over the 2Q09 and 12 percent over the first quarter of 2010. Automobile advertising was up 84 percent from the year-ago quarter, when the big U.S. carmakers were struggling out of bankruptcy or fending it off.

Across the TV stations, local advertising was up 13 percent to $42.3 million. National was up 32 percent to $22.2 million. Political was $4.4 million, compared with $333,000 a year ago.

“The flow of advertising dollars to broadcast television continues to recover nicely, and the organic growth of the digital and mobile audiences is encouraging," said Rich Boehne, Scripps president and CEO said. “Much of that improvement is thanks to the general economic recovery, but we’re also seeing returns on the investments we’re making in high-quality local news content and the more aggressive marketing of the products and services we offer in local TV markets.”

Total advertising time sales were up $14.3 million, or 26 percent, compared with the prior-year quarter. In addition to the auto rebound, retail, travel/leisure, services and consumer packaged goods categories were up by double-digits.

Revenue from the national broadcast networks was less than $250,000, compared with $1.9 million a year earlier. E.W. Scripps has six ABCs, three NBCs and one indie. The company’s affiliation agreement with ABC expired Jan. 31, 2010; negotiations continue under short-term extensions.

Retransmission revenues increased 36 percent in the quarter to $3 million, and online revenue increased 29 percent to $1.9 million.

The TV division reported segment profit of $13.3 million in the second quarter, compared with a segment profit of $4.8 million a year ago.

Consolidated revenues from continuing TV, newspaper, Web and syndication operations were $189 million, up 5.2 percent from a year ago. The increase is E.W. Scripps’ first since the fall of 2008.

Including the results of discontinued operations and the gain on the sale of the United Media licensing business, Scripps reported net income of $99.5 million, or $1.56 per share, compared with $2.3 million, or 4 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2009.

Scripps finished the quarter June 30, 2010 with $935,000 in long-term debt and $122 million in cash and equivalents. The sale of United Media brought an after-tax gain of $96 million, helping to boost the company’s cash position from $7.7 million as of Dec. 31, 2009.

For the third quarter, TV segment growth is expected to exceed 30 percent over the year-ago period. Shares of E.W. Scripps (NYSE: SSP) closed Friday at $7.72, up 11 percent year-to-date.
-- Deborah D. McAdams


May 10, 2010: “E.W. Scripps TV Revenues Rise 11 Percent”
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.

February 23, 2010: “Scripps TV Stations Drop on Political”
Revenue from the E.W. Scripps television stations fell nearly 21 percent for the fourth quarter in the absence of heavy political advertising.