Scripps 3Q Television Revenue Climbs 25%

Strong political and retrans drive the total to $197 million. The digital segment adds another $15.8 million to the company’s overall total.

The E.W. Scripps Co. this morning reported third quarter 2016 revenue from its television group was $197 million, up $39.8 million or 25%. Retransmission revenue increased $16.8 million, and political advertising revenue was $26.9 million in the presidential election year compared to $4.3 million in 2015.

Revenue broken down by category was:

  • Local, flat at $77.9 million (on a same-station basis, excluding the 2015 results of its divested KNIN Boise, Idaho).
  • National, up 2.2% to $35.5 million (on a same-station basis).
  • Political, $26.9 million in 2016 compared to $4.3 million in 2015.
  • Retransmission revenue was up 46% to $53.1 million.
  • Core advertising was up 0.4% on a same-station basis. 

Total segment expenses increased 11% to $139 million, driven by increases in programming fees tied to network affiliation agreements.

Third-quarter segment profit in the television division was $58.3 million, compared to $31.7 million in the year-ago quarter, an increase of 83.9%.

Digital division revenue was was $15.8 million, up $4.9 million from the prior period. Scripps acquired Midroll early in the third quarter of 2015 and Cracked in the second quarter of 2016. Excluding the impact of Midroll and Cracked, total revenue increased 20%.

For the company as a whole, revenues increased $43.3 million, or 23%, to $233 million, compared to the third quarter of 2015. The increase was primarily a result of increases in retransmission revenue, political advertising revenue and its digital businesses.


Costs and expenses for segments, shared services and corporate were $187 million, up from $167 million, primarily driven by expenses from higher network programming fees and costs in our digital businesses.

Commenting on the results, Scripps Chairman-President-CEO Rich Boehne said: “This uncommon — if not downright unique — presidential election, combined with key Senate races in Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Wisconsin becoming far less competitive than forecast, leaves us with much less political advertising revenue than we expected.

“Political spending was healthy further down the ticket and across the country, but presidential spending in some typically crucial swing states was roughly half of what we saw four years ago, reducing the opportunity for some Scripps stations.

“Our local TV newsrooms served communities across the country with unmatched political news coverage. They cut through the noise and helped voters understand issues that could affect their lives for many years to come. We also used the spectacle of this election to boost the brands and audiences of our fast-growing over-the-top video and audio businesses.

“Newsy, aimed at younger viewers, secured a National Emmy nomination for its fact-checking reporting during the presidential primaries and rode this momentum to a long list of new distribution partners in recent months, including Hulu and Cincinnati Bell Fioptics.

“At Midroll, where we own, host, market and distribute some of the most popular podcasts now being heard, we took advantage of this election to reach new audiences with shows including The David Gregory Show and DecodeDC that provided some of the most compelling commentary during this election cycle.

“And at Cracked, where the brutal absurdities of current events are our currency, the election has been an opportunity to build both brand and reach through clever satire.”

Read the company’s report here.

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