QUARTERLY REPORT

Scripps 1Q TV Revenue Climbs 3.2%

But excluding Olympics dollars, it records a 4.4% rise. Local was up 3.5%, national dipped 1%, retrans grew 47%, while digital revenue was up 29%.

The E.W. Scripps Co. today reported operating results for the first quarter of 2011 that reflect stronger revenue performance from the company’s television stations.

Revenue from the Scripps television stations was $69 million, an increase of 3.2% compared with the first quarter of 2010, which benefited from $2 million in incremental revenue tied to the broadcast of last year’s Winter Olympics on the company’s three NBC affiliates. Excluding the effect of the Olympic dollars in the year-ago figure, television advertising revenue increased 4.4%.

Advertising revenue broken down by category was:

  • Local, up 3.5% to $41.1 million
  • National, down 1% to $20.0 million
  • Political was $444,000, about half the figure in the year-ago quarter

Revenue from retransmission consent agreements increased 47% year over year to $4 million. Digital revenue was $2.1 million, an increase of 29% compared with the first quarter of 2010.

Late in 2010, Scripps announced a new five-year affiliation agreement involving six of its stations and the ABC television network. Additionally, the company recently agreed to extend for five years the relationship between its three NBC stations and the NBC television network. The new ABC and NBC agreements discontinue the payment of affiliation fees from the networks to the television stations. Instead, Scripps will pay a licensing fee for the networks’ programming. As a result, Scripps recorded no network compensation revenue in the first quarter of 2011, compared with nearly $800,000 of network compensation revenue a year ago.

Due, in part, to the reinstatement of certain employee benefits, expenses for the TV station group rose by 4% percent year over year to $62.6 million in the first quarter. The TV stations also reported higher programming costs in the quarter as Scripps began paying the television networks for their programming as part of new affiliation agreements announced in the past year. Those network programming costs will be more than offset by a significant reduction in syndicated programming costs starting later this year when the daily production of Oprah comes to an end.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

The television division’s segment profit in the first quarter was $6.3 million, a decrease of 4.8%.

“Our first quarter results were largely as projected, with the exception being the weaker-than-anticipated newspaper advertising that affected the entire industry,” said Rich Boehne, president and CEO. “Television, despite a number of headwinds, reported one of the best revenue increases in the industry, leading us to believe audiences are responding to our commitment to strengthen our news organizations in the communities we serve.”

The company as a whole reported a loss from continuing operations before income taxes of $11.6 million, compared with a loss of $2.4 million in the 2010 quarter. The loss from continuing operations, net of tax, was $8.9 million, or 15 cents per share, in the 2011 quarter, compared with a loss from continuing operations, net of tax, of $2.1 million, or 4 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Read the company’s report here.


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