In the last quarter before completion of the Journal merger, results were boosted by retrans and Super Bowl advertising.
The E.W. Scripps Co. today reported that its television station revenue in the first quarter of 2015, on a same-station basis, increased 11% and total costs and expenses increased 13%. Minus the impact of the 2014 Olympics and $1 million of 2015 Super Bowl spending, local and national advertising revenue decreased 1.5%.
Since the merger of the company’s broadcast assets with those of Journal Communications and the spinoff of the newspaper business occurred on April 1, 2015, first-quarter results reflect operations of the company prior to the transaction.
The company as a whole had consolidated revenues of $215 million, up 5.3% or $10.7 million, primarily due to the increase in retransmission revenue and revenue from two television stations acquired from Granite.
Commenting on the results, Scripps Chairman-President-CEO Rich Boehne said: “The first quarter at Scripps was focused on completing our transaction with Journal Communications, which closed on April 1, creating one of the nation’s largest independent station ownership groups. We now have 33 television stations covering nearly one in five U.S. households as well as 34 radio stations and a complement of strong local and national digital media brands.
“To provide clarity for our investors, beginning in the second quarter we will report results in four segments: television, radio, digital and syndication and other. While local television will account for a large majority of our revenue, we decided it’s important for investors to understand separately the dynamics of our radio group as well as the investments and growing businesses that we manage in our digital operations.
“The first quarter saw strong growth in our television retransmission revenue, which flowed from new agreements covering about a third of our pay TV households. We are already focused on our retransmission opportunity for 2016 as well as the promise of strong election-year spending and the realization of benefits from the Journal stations. We are ramping up to a big year in 2016.”