Strong political advertising, double-digit rises in local, national and retrans fueled the best third quarter ever reported by the company’s TV operations.
The E.W. Scripps Co. today reported that revenue from the company’s television stations in the third quarter was $125 million, compared to $70 million in the third quarter of 2011. The 2012 quarter included revenue from the television stations in four markets that were acquired on Dec. 30, 2011, and Scripps said it was the strongest third-quarter revenue performance ever reported by the company’s television stations.
On a same-station basis, television revenue increased 41% in the quarter to $98.8 million.
Advertising revenue broken down by category was:
- Local, up 25% to $52 million (down 1% on a same-station basis)
- National, up 39% to $26 million (up 6% on a same-station basis)
- Political was $33.9 million, compared to $2 million in the 2011 quarter
Excluding the newly acquired stations, political advertising totaled $28.0 million in the third quarter. That compares with $14.8 million on a same-station basis in the third quarter of 2010 (the previous election cycle) and $10.3 million in 2008 (the previous presidential cycle).
As is common during presidential election cycles, the influx of political advertising displaced certain traditional advertisers, the company said. It added it expects advertisers in the core market, especially in the automotive and retail categories, to return to the air in the back half of the fourth quarter.
Revenue from retransmission consent agreements rose 86% year over year to $7.4 million. As a result of new agreements with cable operators that were negotiated in 2011, same-station retransmission revenue increased 26% to $5 million.
Digital revenues in the third quarter increased 85% to $4 million, and grew 50% on a same-station basis.
Largely as a result of the addition of new stations, expenses for the TV station group grew 35% to $83.5 million. Excluding the new stations, expenses were up 1.9%.
The television division’s segment profit in the third quarter was $41.8 million, compared with $8.1 million in the year-ago period.
For the company as a whole, consolidated revenues rose 31% to $220 million from $168 million in the third quarter of 2011. Consolidated expenses for segment, shared services and corporate rose 13.7% to $185 million. Operating income in the 2012 quarter was $18.3 million, compared with an operating loss of $17.9 million in the third quarter of 2011.
“An aggressive realignment of our company over the past two years has positioned us to take advantage of improvements in our core television business, growth in digital audiences, and a huge surge in political advertising,” said Rich Boehne, Scripps president-CEO.
“In the television division, our investments in local news content, original programming to replace underperforming syndicated shows, and in sales infrastructure to maximize political dollars are all showing strong returns on investments,” Boehne added. “Also ahead of expectations are the four additional markets — Denver, Indianapolis, San Diego and Bakersfield — which we acquired at the end of last year.”
Read the company’s report here.