Scripps 3Q TV Revenue Drops 9%

The decrease to $180 million is pegged to lower political and core local and national advertising that weren’t offset by retrans revenue that grew by $10.6 million.

The E.W. Scripps Co. this morning reported third quarter revenue from its television group of $180 million, down about 9% from the prior-year quarter. 

TV group revenue broken down by category:

  • Core local and national advertising was down 2.8%. 
  • Political was $1.7 million, compared to $26.9 million in the third quarter of last year.
  • Retransmission consent revenue increased 20% to $64 million. The increase was driven by the renewal at higher rates of two contracts covering 3 million subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Total TV segment expenses increased 6.4% to $148 million, driven by increases in programming fees tied to network affiliation agreements.

Third-quarter television segment profit was $32.1 million, compared to $58.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

Digital division 3Q revenue was $17.8 million, up 13.3%. Expenses for the digital group were $23.5 million, an increase of $2.1 million from the prior-year period. Segment loss in the digital division was $5.7 million in the third quarter, compared to $5.6 million a year ago.

For the company as a whole, total revenue decreased 7%, to $216 million. Costs and expenses for segments, shared services and corporate were $200 million, up from $187 million in the year-ago period, primarily driven by higher network programming fees.


Commenting on the third-quarter results, Scripps President-CEO Adam Symson said: “In the third quarter, we began a deep analysis of our operating division and corporate cost structure, our non-core assets and the opportunities for our national content brands. We are committed to improving operating performance in our local media businesses, supporting the growth ahead with our national businesses and serving our audiences with news and information across all media platforms.

“In our television business, we saw core advertising move back into positive territory in the third quarter, factoring out incremental Olympics revenue as well as political for 2016. We have now secured shelf space for our local brands with a half-dozen major over-the-top TV disruptors, including YouTubeTV, Hulu and DirectTV Now, with net economics comparable to that of our cable and satellite platforms.

“In our national businesses,” he added, “we aim to be the disruptor — capitalizing on consumers’ changing media habits by creating compelling content and distributing it across both traditional and emerging platforms. This focus on consumer behavior, combined with national scale, is setting up these brands for continued healthy revenue growth.

“Among these opportunities is our newest acquisition, the Katz networks, whose national reach and targeted audiences give us access to a deep well of national general-market advertisers. The four networks joined us Oct. 2 and are on track to meet their fourth-quarter financial goals.”

Read the company’s report here.

Comments (3)

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Dan Levitt says:

November 3, 2017 at 10:41 am

political Ad Revenue is overrated, it’s the cheapest ad rate at any station and fills what otherwise would be typical advertisers. the only thing good about political advertising is that it is guaranteed revenue and plotted out ahead of time. Using Political advertising as an excuse is getting old hat – they time is going to be filled anyway, anybody having trouble filling 14 mins of ads an hour would be out of business by now.

Snead Hearn says:

November 3, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Political ad revenue is not overrated and it is welcomed by any station group. Most of the political now comes from committees and they are not part of favorable treatment so the rates tend to be strong. Also most station groups sell by class of time so their are many lowest unit rates and stations have become proficient in making sure political purchases the right class of time. I agree broadcast is struggling to grow core revenue but political is normally a two year cycle that station groups look forward to growing their bottom line as general managers and general sales managers normally handle and no commissions are paid. Big plus for bottom lines.

kendra campbell says:

November 4, 2017 at 3:37 pm

At some point folks will learn that 80+% of political advertising is equal to flushing the $ down a toilet.

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