A 14% rise in local and a 30% boost in retransmission consent revenue were the quarter’s drivers.
The E.W. Scripps Co. today reported operating results for the fourth quarter of 2011 that reflect a double-digit year-over-year increase in non-political television revenues.
Total revenue from the company’s television stations in the fourth quarter was $84.7 million – a 16% decrease compared with $101 million in the year-ago period, and an 11.4% increase when political advertising is excluded from the 2011 and 2010 totals.
The total revenue performance was a 15% increase from the same period in 2009, the previous fourth quarter in a non-election year.
Advertising revenue broken down by category was:
- Local, up 14 percent to $49.4 million
- National, flat at $23.2 million
- Political was $3.5 million, compared with $28.1 million in the 2010 quarter
Revenue from retransmission consent agreements increased 30% percent year over year to $3.9 million.
Digital revenue rose 21% year over year to $2.7 million in the fourth quarter.
Expenses for the TV station group declined 2.1% in the fourth quarter to $62.3 million. The discontinuation of Oprah on four of the company’s stations fueled a 23% reduction in programming costs. The programming savings were partially offset by annual incentive awards and the decision earlier this year to restore certain retirement plan benefits.
The television division’s segment profit in the fourth quarter was $22.3 million, compared with $7.5 million in the third quarter of 2011 and $37.3 million in the year-ago quarter.
“Behind all the noise in our fourth-quarter results were businesses that ended the year on a high note,” said Rich Boehne, Scripps president-CEO. “Television revenues grew at a double-digit clip, the result of both solid recovery in key TV advertising categories and strong performance in our most valuable time slots – those programmed with high-quality local news. At the same time, we completed the opportunistic acquisition of nine additional TV stations concentrated in three of America’s best media markets – Indianapolis, Denver and San Diego. Together, they offer the prospect of a strong return on investment for our shareholders.”
Read the company’s report here.