Despite the loss of political revenue, The E.W. Scripps Company managed to post a 3.2% gain in television revenue. But weaker than anticipated newspaper results were a big cause of an overall revenue loss of 2.1%.
In all, the company brought in $180M in Q1 2011, compared to $184M in Q1 2010.
Television was a bright spot. President/CEO Rich Boehne said, “Television, despite a number of headwinds, reported one of the best revenue increases in the industry, leading us to believe audiences are responding to our commitment to strengthen our news organizations in the communities we serve.”
The division’s 3.2% gain to $69M was comprised of a 3.5% gain in local by $41.1M, leavened by a 1% loss in national to $20M. Political, in an off year, still generated $444K, about half the total pulled in during Q1 2010.
Scripps said that new affiliation agreements with ABC and NBC not only brought an end to network payments to the stations, it resulted in fees going the other way. The result in Q1 2011 was a drop in network compensation income from $800K to $0. However, retransmission consent revenue increased 47% to $4M, and digital was up 29% to $2.1M.
The newspaper end of the business lost 5.7% in revenue to $106M. Local dropped 10%, classified was down 3.9%, national lost 28%, preprint/other was down 3.3% and circulation income was down 1.8%.
Scripps expects its television revenue to continue to increase in Q2 despite the lack of political; in fact, it may pick up steam and bring home a better percentage gain than the company enjoyed in Q1. Newspaper is expected to continue its slide, but it is expected to be not quite as steep a loss.