Five years ago, said Scripps Local Media President Brian Lawlor, Scripps owned only 13 television stations. “When we close on our recent acquisitions, we’ll have 51 stations in 36 markets stretching across the country.” The plan, he said, is to build “a stronger and more durable station portfolio.”
The boost to $231 million was attributed to political advertising revenue of $40 million plus $78.8 million in retrans money. Local Media profit was $67.4 million, compared to $30.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
The deal will bring the Scripps station portfolio to 51 stations in 36 markets with a reach of nearly 21% of U.S. TV households and includes three duopolies — in Helena and Great Falls, Montana, and Corpus Christi, Texas. Cordillera is selling its remaining station, NBC affiliate KVOA Tucson, Ariz., to Quincy Media.
The station group says it expects 2018 political advertising revenue to beat its $75 million from 2014 and $101 million from 2016.
Each of its stations will 100 minutes coverage each week prior to the midterm elections. In addition, Scripps has renewed its Sunday political news show The Race, which debuted during the 2016 election season.
The plan is to buy $25 million of its Class A common shares, which it expects to be completed by the first quarter of 2019.
The gain to $213 million was driven by retrans plus political advertising revenue of $14.9 million, more than double the $7 million of pro forma political revenue in 2Q 2014, the last midterm election year.
The complications of dynamic ad insertion is one factor keeping local broadcasters from making a bigger run at OTT. But with the promise of higher CPMs from ad targeting as motivation, broadcasters and vendors say solutions are on the horizon.
She most recently was director of revenue strategy for Scripps, supporting the sales strategy of the group’s 12 local TV markets in the Western United States.
Frank Friedman will oversee Scripps’ portfolio of local media brands by focusing his consumer and advertising background on local market strategic plans and executions. He will manage teams including analytics and insights, marketing and creative. He also will lead Scripps’ involvement in the testing and implementation of the growing automated advertising marketplace.