E.W. Scripps Loves TV: Here’s Why


Yes, E.W. Scripps Co. owns radio stations.

For President/CEO Rich Boehne, it is the company’s broadcast TV division that represents its “core business.”

“We make most of our money on broadcast TV,” Boehme told attendees of the 44th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York at a Tuesday afternoon session.

Thus, the company’s radio properties got zero attention while Boehne and SVP/Television Brian Lawlor offered attendees several key reasons why E.W. Scripps loves the television business.

At the top of Scripps’ list is the high barrier for entry, and the multiple revenue streams that broadcast TV ownership can bring.

There is also the local and national advertising blend.

But, it is perhaps the “predictable revenue” of long-term retransmission contracts that is most alluring to Lawlor, Boehne and the E.W. Scripps C-Suite.

Lawlor shared with attendees Scripps’ good retransmission leverage, and how Scripps stations account for 40% of in-market viewing. Combine that with the sports programming aired in these mid-sized to major markets, and that gives the company negotiating leverage, he says.

In fact, 2017 is predicted to bring a 20% increase in gross retransmission revenue, and a 25% increase in net retransmission dollars.

Another big plus for Scripps’ ownership of broadcast TV is the political advertising windfall it already predicts for 2018. Despite a lower-than-anticipated political bump in 2016, Lawlor says broadcast TV will play a key role in ’18, as Democrats seek to defend 23 of 33 seats in the U.S. Senate.

Ten races are in Scripps markets, he says.

Furthermore, stations in Florida, Ohio and California will likely benefit from both governors and Senate races.

Lastly, Lawlor pointed to a healthy core advertising market forecast for 2017 before hinting at why E.W. Scripps invested $9.5 million in its June 2016 purchase of podcast service Stitcher.

With “connected cars” set to drive podcast audience engagement, Scripps is now one step ahead of the curve in ensuring that it has a foot in the door of something that may impact its radio stations but keeps consumers connected to a Scripps audio delivery channel.


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Adam R Jacobson is a veteran radio industry journalist and advertising industry analyst with general, multicultural and Hispanic market expertise. From 1996 to 2006 he served as an editor at Radio & Records.
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