Station profit of $49 million is fueled by political ad revenue of $28.9 million. Cable networks profit rises 19% to $144 million.
The E. W. Scripps Co. today reported fourth quarter operating results, including solid revenue and segment profit growth at its national lifestyle television networks, television station group and interactive media businesses, Shopzilla and uSwitch.
At the Scripps Television Station Group, total revenue was up 25% to $112 million during the fourth quarter, primarily on the strength of political advertising revenue. Political advertising revenue during the fourth quarter was $28.9 million compared with $2.5 million in 2005.
The strong political advertising revenue drove broadcast television segment profit up 64% to $49.1 million.
Station revenue broken down by category was:
- Political, $28.9 million vs. $2.5 million in 2005.
- Local, down 8.6% to $50.0 million.
- National, down 2.6% to $28.9 million.
Broadcast television cash expenses were $62.5 million, up 5.4 percent from the prior year.
The company’s overall fourth quarter income from continuing operations was $132 million, or 80 cents per share, compared with $98.8 million, or 60 cents per share, during the same period a year earlier.
Operating income was up 18% to $214 million during the three-month period.
The company sold the Shop At Home television network in June and announced in September that it had reached an agreement to sell its five Shop At Home-affiliated broadcast television stations. The company closed on the sale of three of the stations in December and will complete the sale of the remaining two by June 2007.
The company’s net income for the fourth quarter of 2006 was $134 million, or 81 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $603,000 during the fourth quarter of 2005. The net loss in 2005 was attributable to the write-down of goodwill at Shop At Home.
The improvement in the company’s consolidated fourth quarter results is primarily attributable to solid financial performance at the company’s Scripps Networks division, which includes HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living and Great American Country.
Total revenue for the Scripps Networks division increased 13% to $280 million. Advertising revenue at Scripps Networks was up 11% to $224 million.
Scripps Networks segment profit in the fourth quarter was up 19% year-over-year to $144 million. Segment profit excludes depreciation, amortization of intangible assets, interest, income taxes, investment results and certain other items that are included in net income.
“Scripps ended 2006 on a high note with exceptionally strong financial performance at our Scripps Networks, Television Station Group and Interactive Media operating divisions,” said Kenneth W. Lowe, president and chief executive officer for Scripps. “On a consolidated basis, the company’s total revenue and net income were up strongly and earnings per share finished comfortably above the range we forecast in October.
“The Scripps Television Station Group also contributed significantly to consolidated growth during the fourth quarter thanks to record political advertising. But political was just part of the story,” Lowe said. “Revenue from advertisers who never used TV before continued to grow, demonstrating once again the resourcefulness of our ad sales teams. All told our TV stations had a fantastic finish to a very solid year.”
For the company’s full report, click here.