E.W. Scripps Station Revs Plummet, But Core Spending Up

Sharply lower political advertising spending pushed down E.W. Scripps Co. results, as expected, for its TV stations -- but core ad spending grew.

TV station revenue dropped 24% to $115 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, due to a $54.8 million decline in political advertising spending to just $2.1 million for the three months ending 2013.

But the Cincinnati-based TV-media company says core local and national TV spending grew 17%. This breaks down to local TV advertising up 15% to $63 million and national TV spot advertising 22% higher to $31.6 million.

Retrans fees grew 42% to $11.2 million, with digital revenue 7.9% higher to $11.2 million.

In 2014, the company expects TV revenue to rebound more than 20%, with approximately $65 million coming from political and $50 million in retrans revenue.

Scripps’ newspaper operations slipped 1.8% to $103 million during the period as a result of continued declines in advertising and marketing services revenue. But subscription revenue grew. Scripps estimates that in 2014, newspaper revenues will be about flat.

Scripps' overall revenues for the fourth quarter were down 15% to $220.8 million, with net income cut down by 72% to $7.6 million.

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