QUARTERLY REPORT

Scripps 3Q TV Revenue Rises 31%

The increase to $79 million is led by almost $15 million in political ad money. Local revenue was up 5%, while national grew by 25%.

The E.W. Scripps Co. today reported operating results for the third quarter of 2010 that included significantly improved year-over-year top- and bottom-line performance in the television division.

Reflecting the benefit of political advertising in even-numbered years, revenue from the company’s TV stations was $78.5 million in the third quarter, an increase of 31% over the third quarter of 2009. The 2010 figure was 2% higher than the $76.9 million in revenue reported in the third quarter of the presidential election year of 2008.

Advertising revenue broken down by category was:

  • Local, up 4.7 percent to $37.6 million
  • National, up 25 percent to $20.1 million
  • Political was $14.8 million, compared with $1.7 million in the 2009 quarter

The company said the increase in revenue from local and national advertisers was largely attributable to improved spending by automotive advertisers. In the third quarter, that category rose 70% despite displacement caused by the surge in political ads.

Sales were strong throughout the quarter, with year-over-year revenue increases of 25% in July and more than 30 percent in August and September.

Network compensation was less than $100,000, compared with $1.9 million in the third quarter of 2009. The company’s affiliation agreements with ABC, which include six Scripps stations, expired on Jan. 31, 2010. The Scripps stations have continued to operate as ABC affiliates under short-term extensions while Scripps and ABC negotiate a new long-term affiliation agreement.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Revenue from retransmission consent agreements increased 66% in the quarter to $3 million, and online revenue increased 35% to $2 million.

Year-over-year segment expenses for the TV station group increased 7.3% to $60.9 million in the third quarter. Most of the increase, Scripps said, was due to an accrual for a new network affiliation agreement with ABC. Year-over-year employee costs were essentially flat compared with the year-ago quarter.

The television division reported segment profit of $17.7 million in the third quarter, compared with a segment profit of $3.1 million in the 2009 quarter.

“The flow of advertising dollars back into local television continues at an encouraging pace, attracted in part by our commitment to delivering larger and more engaged audiences through a determined focus on high-quality local news content,” said Rich Boehne, Scripps president-CEO. “Many of our key television advertising categories have bounced back to pre-2009 levels.”

Looking forward, the company said it believes the business trends reported in the third quarter of 2010 will continue into the final three months of the year. In the fourth quarter, the year-over-year growth in television ad revenues is expected to be 35%-40%, including $28 million in political advertising.

Read the company’s report here.


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