QUARTERLY REPORT

Scripps 4Q TV Rev Climbs 37% To $233M

Strong political and a 69% rise in retransmission consent money drive the increase. Core local and national advertising was down 12% due to displacement from political.

The E.W. Scripps Co. this morning reported fourth quarter revenue from its television group of $233 million, up $62.7 million or 37%. Retransmission revenue increased $24.7 million, and political advertising revenue was $56.2 million in the presidential election year compared to $2.1 million in 2015.

Fourth quarter revenue broken down by category was:

  • Local, down 11.3% to $80 million.
  • National, down 14.5% to $32.8 million.
  • Political, $56.2 million, compared to $2.1 million in 2015.
  • Retransmission consent revenue was up 69% to $60.5 million.
  • Core local and national advertising was down 12% due to displacement from political advertising. 

Total segment expenses increased 6.3% to $137 million, driven by increases in programming fees tied to network affiliation agreements.

Fourth-quarter segment profit in the television division was $96 million, compared to $41.4 million in the year-ago quarter, an increase of 132%.

Digital division 4Q revenue was $18.8 million, up $5.6 million, or 42%, from the prior period. Excluding the impact of Cracked, which was acquired in the second quarter of 2016, total revenue increased 30%.

For the company as a whole, 4Q total revenue rose 33.1% to $273 million compared to $205 million a year earlier.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

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: “Our broadcast television division delivered record revenue in 2016, despite the headwinds of an uncommon presidential election combined with the short-term absence of some advertisers who avoided jockeying with political campaigns for airtime. While the presidential race spending did not rise to the level we had expected, we were encouraged by the strong spending levels for U.S. Senate and House races in our markets.

“Looking ahead now to the 2018 mid-term election, we are focused on 10 Senate seats up for grabs in our footprint as well as a meaningful gubernatorial year, with 16 governors’ races across the Scripps markets.

“Also in our TV division, we are seeing success through our original programming strategy. Our infotainment-news program The List continues to pull strong ratings as the 17th highest rated show in syndication. The List can now be enjoyed in 45 markets covering 28% of the nationwide audience — 32 million U.S. television households. Our viral videos show Right This Minute reaches most of the country today and continues to see significant ratings growth and profitability as it heads into its seventh season.

“In our digital reporting segment, over-the-top video news network Newsy is rapidly expanding its distribution and viewership. As of the fourth quarter, OTT video delivery platforms make up the majority of Newsy’s revenue stream. Newsy continues to move away from syndication services and is working to establish itself as the news network of choice for millennials looking for thoughtfulness, context and objectivity.

“Podcast-industry leader Midroll also expanded its brand late this year, staging a series of live events, the Now Hear This Festival, and launching Stitcher Premium subscription service. The first-time Now Hear This Festival brought more than 1,000 podcast fans to Anaheim to meet popular hosts and see shows recorded live on stage, providing the Midroll team with great real-time feedback on its programming strategies. And our subscription service Stitcher Premium lays the foundation for our direct-from-consumer audience and revenue strategies. The service includes premium content and a high-level delivery experience that will let both long-time and new podcast fans find more shows they love.”

Read the company’s report here.


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