Scripps Dips: Ad Revenue Plummets, Especially For Papers

Like a broken record, E.W. Scripps is another TV company that has witnessed deep declines in advertising for its local stations during the fourth quarter.

Local advertising revenues sank 27% to $41.5 million in the quarter, versus the same period a year before. National spot advertising revenue declined by the same rate to $20.8 million.

As with many TV stations, Scripps' strong political advertising dollars could not overcome ad drops in other categories, such as automotive and retail. Political advertising was $26 million in the period versus $1.3 million a year before.

Scripps' TV stations were able to eke out a tiny improvement in profit: 1.3% to $31.1 million on a 2.1% increase in revenues to $93.4 million.

But it was its long-suffering newspaper business that put the company into the red overall for the quarter. Newspaper profits sank to $12.8 million, down 65.5% on $137.5 million in revenue--a 16.5% decline. Just advertising revenues alone at the newspapers were down 19.8% to $104.8 million, with local business down 15.1%, classified off 27.7%, and national advertising down 18%.



All this put Scripps at a net loss from continuing operations, before income taxes and minority interests, at $19.4 million. A year before, Scripps posted a $44.7 million net profit. Operating revenues were down 6.2% to $264.9 million.

The company's Scripps Networks--which comprises its cable networks, such as HGTV and Food Network, as well as interactive media divisions--was spun off into a separate publicly traded company on July 1, 2008.

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