Scripps Reports TV Gains, Newspapers Slide

Like many TV station groups, the E.W. Scripps Company had some good news/bad news results from its fourth-quarter 2011 reporting period.

The good: It witnessed double-digit revenue gains from non-political revenues for its TV stations. The bad: When adding in those nonpolitical activities, Scripps was at $84.7 million in revenues for the period -- a 16% decline compared with $101 million in the year-ago period. The television division's profit in the fourth quarter was down to $22.3 million versus $37.3 million in Q4 2010.

Looking over a two-year period -- which is how many TV stations groups analyze their results because of big political and Olympic advertising revenues every other year -- Scripps said it had a 15% gain in revenue from the same period in 2009.

Going forward, Scripps TV group hopes to benefit from more outlets. During the period it closed on an acquisition of nine television stations from McGraw-Hill Broadcasting.

For the period, local advertising revenue was up 14% to $49.4 million; national spot advertising was flat at $23.2 million; political was cut down by almost 90% of what it was in the fourth quarter 2010, to $3.5 million compared with $28.1 million.

Growing revenue streams were retransmission consent agreements, which improved 30% to $3.9 million, and digital business revenue, which rose 21% to $2.7 million.

Newspapers -- as is evident in the industry overall -- continued to slide. Total revenue from Scripps newspapers fell 3.3% to $110 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. It was the third consecutive quarter of declines. Circulation revenue was flat at $30.7 million; print advertising revenue was down 5.1% to $67.8 million.

Rich Boehne, president and CEO of E. W. Scripps, stated that late last year, the company "launched a series of paid news and weather apps that represent the next generation of market-defining digital products," believing they will be a "valuable digital marketplace for services, built upon high-quality local news content."

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