Retransmission consent revenue grows and expenses are cut, but it’s not enough to counter a 29% drop in national ad money and a 26% decrease in local ad revenue.
The E.W. Scripps Co. today reported second-quarter operating results for its television, newspaper, and licensing and syndication businesses. Revenue from the company’s television stations was $61.1 million, a decrease of 24 percent from the second quarter of 2008.
Revenue broken down by category was:
- Local, down 26 percent to $37.3 million.
- National, down 29 percent to $16.9 million.
- Other, which includes fees for carriage of the stations on cable systems, rose 41 percent to $6.5 million.
- Political was $333,000, compared to $1.6 million in the 2008 quarter.
The company said the decrease in the local and national revenue was largely attributable to reduced spending by advertisers in the automotive, financial services and retail categories.
Scripps said: “As is common for this stage of the election cycle, there was virtually no political spending in the second quarter of 2009, compared with the year-ago period that included primaries at the local, state and national levels.”
Cash expenses for the station group decreased 10 percent to $56.2 million, compared with $62.2 million a year ago. Programming costs were 14 percent higher due to contractual increases for syndicated programming in several key markets, but they were more than offset by reduced employee costs and expenses for production and distribution.
The television division, which had reported a segment loss in the first quarter of 2009, reported segment profit of $4.8 million in the second quarter, compared with $18.3 million in segment profit in the year-ago quarter.
For the company as a whole, c onsolidated revenues were $194 million, a 23 percent decrease from $251 million in the second quarter of 2008. Net income from continuing operations, was $2.3 million, or 4 cents per share, compared with a net loss from continuing operations of $608 million, or $11.20 per share, in the 2008 quarter.
“Thanks to disciplined operating decisions and modest debt, Scripps has been able to protect its financial health and look ahead with optimism despite an economic crisis that has throttled the flow of marketing dollars across this country,” said Rich Boehne, president and chief executive officer. “In the near term, we are seeing some slight improvement in the flow of advertising in our markets, particularly at the television stations, which have increased their revenue projections — albeit very modestly — during each of the past seven weeks.
“We remain most focused during this period of rapid media transformation on the longer-term opportunities to increase our shares of local audiences and advertising revenues through a dedication to high-quality content and outstanding public service. Thanks to our stable financial position, we’ve been able to shift resources during this period to those areas that have the best long-term return — news and information content and the development of new revenue streams.”