TV up, newspapers down for Scripps


The advertising recovery has not been universal, so companies with newspaper properties are still finding it tough going. E.W. Scripps reported that its TV group revenues were up 3% in Q2 to $77 million, while newspaper revenues fell 5.6% to $102 million – so consolidated revenues were down 3% to $183 million.

“Our television strategy, anchored by continuing investment in high-quality local news programming, is resulting in strong audience gains and revenue growth. Local and national time sales were up 8 percent versus last year, excluding cyclical political advertising, and up 26 percent from the same period in 2009. The general recovery in television advertising has certainly helped, but we’re setting our stations apart and getting more than our fair share of the increasing demand for advertising by focusing on enterprise journalism, including investigative reporting, that expands local audiences,” said CEO Rich Boehne.

“That same commitment to strong local content is driving audience growth and double-digit revenue growth for digital products in TV markets, where we’re building out marketplaces for tablets and smart phones, in additional to our core Web sites,” he added.

TV revenues were up 3% to $77 million and up 26% from the previous non-election year, 2009. Excluding political, Q2 2011 was up 8.1% from Q2 2010. Local spot sales were up 8.1% to $45.7 million, national rose 1.2% to $22.5 million and political was $938K, down from $4.4 million a year earlier.

The financial report contains a bit of insight into how the relationship between networks and affiliates has changed: “In the second quarter of 2010, Scripps received $220,000 in network compensation from the NBC television network. Under the terms of agreements reached in 2010, the company no longer receives network compensation from either NBC or ABC, and instead pays a licensing fee to the networks for their programming.”

The counter-balance to that, of course, is retransmission consent payments from cable/satellite companies. Retrans for Scripps was up 31% in Q2 to $3.9 million. Also, digital revenue shot up 26% to $2.4 million.

Segment profit for the television division was up 3.3% to $13.5 million.

But, for the print side, ad revenues fell 7.7% to $61.3 million. Local was down 4.6% to $20.7 million, national fell 31% to $3.1 million and classified fell 9.4% to $20 million. Segment profit for the newspaper division was $4.9 million, down nearly ten million from $14.6 million a year earlier.

What about the current quarter?

Scripps is telling Wall Street to expect TV revenues to be down about 10% — but up in the high single digits excluding political. Newspaper revenues are expected to fall by mid-single digits.