Scripps 3Q Local Media Revenue Grows 23%
The E.W. Scripps Co. this morning reported third quarter revenue from its Local Media division (its TV stations and local brands on all platforms) of $231 million, up 23% from the same quarter a year ago.
Local Media broadcast time sales were up 25%, driven by political advertising revenue of $40 million. The political ad revenue caused displacement in core advertising, contributing to its decline of 7.5%.
Retransmission consent revenue increased 24% to $78.8 million. The increase in retransmission revenues was due to rate step-ups for approximately 5 million of our subscribers as well as regular annual contractual rate increases.
Local Media segment expenses increased 3.9% to $163 million, primarily driven by increases in programming fees tied to network affiliation agreements as well as the cost of producing the original syndicated program Pickler & Ben, which launched season two in late September.
Second quarter Local Media profit was $67.4 million, compared to $30.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
The company’s National Media division reported 3Q revenue of $71.8 million, up from $12.5 million in the prior-year period. Revenue from the Katz networks, which were acquired in the fourth quarter of 2017, was $46.5 million. Excluding the impact of Katz, revenue more than doubled compared to the 2017 quarter.
Expenses for the National Media group were $68.9 million, up from $16.9 million in the prior-year period. The increase was driven by the acquisition of the Katz networks as well as investment in Newsy and Stitcher.
National Media profit was $2.8 million, compared to a loss of $4.4 million in the 2017 quarter.
For the company as a whole, total revenue was $303 million, an increase of 51% from the third quarter of 2017.
Commenting on the quarter’s results, Scripps President-CEO Adam Symson said: “During a quarter when we delivered terrific operating results across the board – buoyed by record-level mid-term election political revenue, we also took significant action to execute our plan to reposition the company for improved operating performance and long-term growth.
“The acquisitions of the Cordillera television portfolio and Triton, the digital audio SaaS infrastructure and measurement leader, are important moves to enhance the company’s cash-flow production and long-term value.
“Triton’s efficient business model, multiple growing revenue streams, competitive advantages and expanding international footprint make it an attractive fit into our National Media strategy. Triton is the industry standard by which digital audio is measured, while its infrastructure technology is fueling growth for the world’s top audio companies.
“The acquisition of the Cordillera portfolio will add high-performing television stations that lead their markets. Consistent with our strategy to improve our portfolio, their addition will give Scripps No. 1 Nielsen-rated stations in a third of our markets, diversify our network affiliations and geographic reach, add market depth and provide new exposure to contested political states.
“These acquisitions, alongside our consistent operating performance and disciplined approach to return of capital through the share repurchase plan and dividend, should give shareholders confidence that we are executing in a way that delivers them the results they seek.”
Read the company’s report here.