Scripps 3Q Local Media Rev Up 9.4%
E.W. Scripps Co.’s Local Media division (its TV stations and local brands on all platforms) today reported revenue for the third quarter of 2019 of $252 million, up 9.4% from the prior-year quarter.
Retransmission consent revenue increased 21% to $95.2 million.
Core advertising revenue increased 36% to $148 million, mainly due to the impact of the television stations acquired from Gray/Raycom, Cordillera and Nexstar/Tribune.
Third quarter political revenues were $5 million during this non-election year.
Local Media segment expenses increased 24% to $203 million, primarily driven by increases in programming fees tied to network affiliation agreements and the impact of the television stations acquired from Gray/Raycom, Cordillera and Nexstar/Tribune.
Third quarter Local Media profit was $49.7 million, compared to $67.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
For the company as a whole, total revenue was $350 million compared to $303 million in the third-quarter 2018.
Loss from continuing operations attributable to Scripps was $21.9 million or 27 cents per share. Pre-tax costs for the current quarter included $16.7 million of acquisition and related integration costs that increased the loss by $12.6 million, net of taxes, or 16 cents per share. In the prior-year quarter, income from continuing operations was $20 million or 24 cents per share.
Commenting on the quarter’s results, Scripps President-CEO Adam Symson said: “The third quarter marked the eighth consecutive reporting period in which Scripps has delivered financial results across the company that met or beat expectations, further evidence we are committed to executing our plan to deliver on our operating results while fueling long-term value creation.
“The closing of the Nexstar-Tribune station acquisitions in September was an important milestone as we further reposition Scripps to be a bigger, stronger and more durable company – strengthening our Local Media portfolio to best capture the opportunities coming to us in 2020 while providing excellent return on invested capital.
“In our National Media businesses, we continue to deliver record revenue performance across our businesses, fueled by modest short-term investments that will generate significant long-term value. Our businesses are riding high on a wave of growth in some of the most important emerging media marketplaces, including digital audio and podcasting and over-the-top and over-the-air television. Our strategies to capitalize on the media consumers’ changing habits are a complement to our robust local broadcast business while also creating new shareholder value.
“2020 is just on the horizon, bringing the reset of contracts covering about half of our subscriber households and the opportunity to leverage our exceedingly well-positioned political advertising footprint for next year’s presidential election. Combined with the moves we have made to improve the operating profile of our company, we expect Scripps to generate significantly higher free cash flow in 2020 than we otherwise would have expected.”
Read the company’s report here.