Political income drives Scripps into the black


E.W. Scripps CompanyThe E.W. Scripps Company is still suffering setbacks on the newspaper side of its business, but the election-fueled results posted by its television stations make Q3 2012 a successful one.

Scripps has a bigger television portfolio to begin with than it did during Q3 2011, thanks to taking the keys to new acquisitions in Indianapolis, Denver, San Diego and Bakersfield last December.

That produced a 31% gain in consolidated revenue to $220M; with the new stations omitted, the company gained 15% to $193M.

Operating income was $18.3M, which compared very favorably to Q3 2011 results, a loss attributable to impairment charges taken at some of the company’s newspaper holdings.

“An aggressive realignment of our company over the past two years has positioned us to take advantage of improvements in our core television business, growth in digital audiences, and a huge surge in political advertising,” said Rich Boehne, Scripps president and CEO.

“In the television division, our investments in local news content, original programming to replace underperforming syndicated shows, and in sales infrastructure to maximize political dollars are all showing strong returns on investments. Also ahead of expectations are the four additional markets – Denver, Indianapolis, San Diego and Bakersfield – which we acquired at the end of last year.”

At the newspaper division, advertising income dropped 5.3%, but it was able to report increased business in at least one area – classified retail, which gained 1.3%. Scripps noted that it is not losing steam as fast as it once was.

Overall, TV revenue was $125M, and on a same-station basis, it was $98.8M, a gain of 41%. On a same station basis, local was down 1% and national up 6%.

Political was through the roof, with revenue of $33.9M overall and $28M same-station.
Retrans was up 86% to $7.4M overall and 26% to $5M same station.