$26 million in political money was able to offset 27% drops in both local and national sales revenue.
The E.W. Scripps Co. today reported fourth-quarter operating results that the company said “reflect continued weakness in advertising sales at the company’s newspapers and television stations.”
Revenue from the company’s television stations was $93.4 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of 2.1 percent over the fourth quarter of 2007.
Revenue broken down by category was:
- Local, down 26.9 percent to $41.5 million.
- National, down 26.9 percent to $20.8 million.
- Political, $26 million compared with $1.3 million in the 2007 quarter.
After a slow start for political advertising due to national party rules that prohibited Democratic candidates from advertising in Michigan and Florida, the full-year total for political advertising was $41 million, in line with the $42 million reported in the previous presidential election year of 2004.
Cash expenses for the station group were $62.3 million, an increase of 2.5 percent from $60.8 million in the 2007 quarter, despite a 15 percent increase in programming costs.
Segment profit for the television division was $31.1 million in the fourth quarter, a 1.3 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2007.
For the company as a whole, revenue decreased 6.2 percent to $265 million, compared with $282 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. It reported a loss from continuing operations before income taxes and minority interests of $19.4 million, compared with income before income taxes and minority interests of $44.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.